The St. Cloud region recently scored a big win! Effective May 6, 2014, United Express will make twice-daily flights between St. Cloud Regional Airport (STC) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). This service means area businesses and leisure travelers will save time, hassle and money by reducing travel time to the airport, avoiding city traffic and enjoying free parking.

Direct air service to Chicago is a regional game-changer as it will add an estimated $17 million to our economy. Local businesses indicate they spend $6 million annually on air service to Chicago through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and almost twice that much to other destinations that are reachable through O’Hare. The trips to Chicago can link Central Minnesota travelers with connection opportunities to 127 domestic and 37 international destinations on a total of 567 flights.

Not surprisingly, area businesses have been clamoring for the Chicago route for some time. We have a wide array of national and international companies who lead their markets in innovation, technology and top-notch talent. Chicago air service is essential to their continued growth and success.

And, in the greater St. Cloud region, we’re all about success. We’re business-focused and business-friendly. We’ve got a highly educated and productive workforce, dynamic, innovative companies, world-renown natural resources, thriving arts and entertainment, above-average well-being, and a family-friendly quality of life. Add highly-engaged leaders and a dose of Minnesota nice, and you’ve got one of the best places to work, live, and play in America. And with the addition of regular, twice-daily air service, we are now easier to get to and from, than ever.

We’re super excited about Chicago, but don’t forget that St. Cloud also has direct flights to Mesa, Arizona (IWA) and Orlando, Florida (SFB) via Allegiant Airlines. Flight reservations can be made immediately at www.allegiantair.com and www.United.com.