A path east, flights begin to Chicago from Kearney

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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Central Nebraska now has a path to the East. Without backtracking to Denver, that is. Kearney Regional Airport begins round trip flights to Chicago O'Hare Wednesday afternoon, giving Nebraskans the chance to fly to, or connect in, both Denver and Chicago.

Kearney Regional Airport begins flights to Chicago on Wednesday afternoon

The flights will depart from Kearney at 2:16 p.m. Monday through Sunday, while return flights will land in Kearney around 1:30 p.m. Flights average around 250 dollars and are expected to take about two hours gate to gate.

"It's a fantastic destination first of all," Steve Cole, the Aviation Support Coordinator for the City of Kearney, said. "Second of all, Chicago O'Hare, you can get anywhere in the world from there. While we're going to Denver, that provides a great spot going West, Chicago gives us a little bit quicker route for people that want to go further East as well. So really it's just a matter of the people in our community being able to travel essentially anywhere in the world."

Planes will have a 50 seat capacity and, so far, the City has seen about 30 to 40 people planning to board the early December flights. A mark it says is encouraging as things progress.

"I think that people who come from rural areas can drive down to Kearney to catch a flight and can get anywhere now," Cole said. "I do think it reaches out, there aren't a lot of options between Denver and Omaha, so this gives all those people a chance to use that service and get to wherever they need to go."

The City of Kearney has a one-year transportation agreement with United Airlines, meaning the agreement has no government funding and is support entirely by taxpayers. A number that is around 1.3 million dollars.

Ideally the agreement lasts for many years, however the one-year deal gives the City and United a good opportunity to test the effectiveness and response of the flights.