MIAMI — United Airlines launched new flights to Atlantic City, New Jersey on Tuesday from Chicago and Houston.The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey took over the airport in 2013, and had been working to find new airlines that are willing to add service to Atlantic City.

“I thank Governor Christie for fostering a business-friendly climate that has enabled New Jersey to remain a critical hub for global aviation,” said Smisek. “United’s new Atlantic City service will drive business, tourism and economic development throughout the southern part of the state.”

“It speaks volumes that a company like United Airlines recognizes the full and future potential of Atlantic City International Airport,” said Gov. Christie. “The decision to bring air service to the seaside resort opens Atlantic City and ACY to the world while expanding travel service opportunities for the people of the South Jersey region.”

The airline’s new flights will enable one-stop service between Atlantic City and points throughout the Midwest and western United States, Canada, Asia and Latin America.

“The fact is that we’re going to have what we’ve always said the airport needs in terms of service — a major carrier going to major hubs. It’s terrific,” said state Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic. “It’s absolutely essential if Atlantic City is going a step further to become a major convention destination and major tourist destination.”

From Chicago, United’s flight to Atlantic City will depart at 8:10 a.m. daily, arriving at 11:17 a.m. The return flight will depart Atlantic City at 11:52 a.m. and arrive in Chicago at 1:10 p.m.

From Houston, United’s flight to Atlantic City will depart at 7 p.m. daily, arriving at 11:20 p.m. The return flight will depart Atlantic City at 6 a.m. and arrive in Houston at 8:49 a.m.

United Express carrier ExpressJet will operate all of the Atlantic City flights with 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft.

Traffic at the airport has been trending downward. There were 26.7 million visitor trips last year, down two percent from the 27.2 million in 2012, according to figures released by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Atlantic City’s visitor numbers peaked at nearly 35 million in 2005 and have declined every year since then, reports the pressofAtlanticCity. Visitor trips reflect overall visitation to Atlantic City, not the number of individual tourists

Currently, Spirit Airlines is the only other airline that serves Atlantic City. The ultra budget carrier flies to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, and Myrtle Beach from the airport.