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Rhinelander-Oneida County Airports Adds United Flights to Chicago This Summer

Matthew Leitner

Fliers in and out of Rhinelander will soon have more options.

The Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport will start offering daily, direct flights to Chicago this summer.

Airport Director Matthew Leitner couldn’t be more excited for this moment.

“Euphoric. This was a two-, two- and half-year initiative. A lot of people were an integral part of it. It was a real campaign. I have to extend my gratitude to all of those who were an integral part of it,” said Leitner.

Leitner said it’s been about 20 years since Rhinelander has had a direct flight to Chicago O’Hare.

SkyWest flights through United will start in July and run through September.

“Conservative estimates for Chicago, it’s a half a billion dollar a year industry for the Northwoods, for northern Wisconsin and the southern UP, and that’s as I said conservative estimate. Also, a 170,000 travelers and tourists from northern Illinois to Northern Wisconsin,” said Leitner.

Throughout the pandemic, Rhinelander Airport has seen an increase in traffic with Delta increasing its flights and capacity to meet demand.

And it’s not just more flights. It’s larger planes with more passengers.

“It really is the dawn of a new era for the Rhinelander Oneida County Airport. You look at comparable airports our size and many of them have very limited flights, maybe a smaller carrier that isn’t affiliated with a larger airline. So to have United and Delta in this market with all jet services it’s just huge,” said Leitner.

With flights to hubs in Chicago and Minneapolis, it also opens up travel to pretty much anywhere you want to go.

“I think we have the world pretty well covered,” he said.

Leitner said the recent renovations helped make the increase flight traffic possible. There will be digital signage for the flights as well as separate computers and podiums for agents.

United plans to post the schedule and make those flights available to reserve starting this weekend.

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