NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – For the second year, American Airlines is bringing a special direct flight from Washington, D.C. to New Bern and back again. But it’s only for the summer.

People will be able to travel between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern. Those with EWN said this is a big deal.

“The regional airlines are still struggling a bit with pilot shortages and things, so to have new and different service is an exceptional feat in and of itself,” Coastal Carolina Regional Airport Director Andrew Shorter said.

The direct flights are scheduled to start this Saturday.

(Sarah Gray Barr, WNCT photo)

“You would leave DC, come down here on a Saturday, go check into your beach house, stay a week and then come and fly back,” Shorter said.

New Bern residents said they could use this direct flight to get to other major cities.

“It’s a central location. If you’re traveling from here or a small town, typically you either, depending on the airline, you either go to Greenville or Jacksonville to get out,” New Bern resident Eduardo Casanova said. “We travel internationally a lot, South America, as part of business, to Europe, I work for a German company. It’s a good idea.”

Last year saw success, said the head of the Craven County Tourism Development Authority, Melissa Riggle.

“Our numbers reported that 70 percent of the visitors that were coming in were from outbound, so they were coming here to New Bern as the destination, about 30 percent started in New Bern and went elsewhere so that just shows that there is a very large interest,” Riggle said.

Shorter said if this season goes the same, he hopes the summer flight series could become permanent at EWN.

“We hope that if it does well again this summer, then American would look to expand the days of the week and then months of the year that we have it,” Shorter said.

The direct flights are scheduled to run through the Labor Day Weekend.