NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — If you’re planning to travel to Washington, D.C., you could soon be able to catch a flight from Coastal Carolina Regional Airport.
EWN is looking to expand its services with the help of new funds. Airport officials are hopeful by May 2022 they can offer flights to and from Washington, D.C.
“EWN already had a $450 million economic impact on the region, so we would add more to that by starting this route,” said Eric Litchfield, business director for EWN.
Litchfield said the airport applied for a grant through the North Carolina Department of Transportation back in April. If approved, the money would go toward adding a new route to and from Dulles International Airport.
“D.C. is a red-hot area just because of the number of people that come to the coast,” said Litchfield.
EWN collected 65 letters of support from local businesses and elected officials to go along with the grant proposal, as well as $125,000 in pledges. Litchfield said this could be a unique opportunity for EWN.
“No other airport here in Eastern North Carolina flies north,” he said. “Everybody flies Charlotte or Atlanta, so this is a big opportunity so we will serve the entire region with this service.”
The new flights would add $4.5 million annually to the local economy, along with an estimated 140 new jobs.
“American Airlines provided us more seats this year than they did in 2019 and we’ve occupied 90 percent of them,” said Litchfield. “We need more flights and more seats because people are traveling right now.”
Litchfield expects to hear in August if EWN will receive the grant. If it goes through, he’ll have to find an airline to get on board with this plan. Litchfield said he’s already in talks with two different airlines.