This story has been updated.
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Flights from Presque Isle will go to and from Washington Dulles International Airport indefinitely, as opposed to the previous destination of Newark International.
“All United flights departing from and arriving at the Presque Isle International Airport will now go through Dulles International Airport,” stated a press release from the city of Presque Isle Thursday. In 2019, Dulles had the 12th best on-time performance of the top 30 U.S. airports, according to the release.
Brenda Campbell, administrative assistant at the airport, said Friday that flights will go to Dulles “indefinitely.” She could not confirm that United Airlines flight will go to Dulles until the end of the airline’s EAS contract at the airport on May 31, 2022.
Presque Isle International Airport Director Scott Wardwell said on Thursday that he wanted to reiterate to passengers that flights are going to Dulles, as he has run into several people who were not aware. In addition, he said the Washington, D.C., metro area airport is following extensive safety measures in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Flights began going between Presque Isle and Dulles on April 9, five days after a United Airlines official requested that the Department of Transportation allow the move. United was concerned about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the New York metropolitan area, including Newark, which has had nearly 8,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
At the time, Wardwell told the DOT that the change from Newark to Dulles was in the community’s best interest and had the public’s support.
That change had initially been slated to continue until the end of United’s two-year EAS contract on June 30. Wardwell said Thursday that the press release wasn’t intended to make a long-term announcement about Dulles.
The airline industry is one of many that has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 17, a total of 441,829 people were screened by the TSA, 83 percent lower than the number screened on the same date in 2019.
After a controversial series of public hearings and council meetings — during which the Presque Isle public was virtually united in their criticism of United and Newark International — the DOT chose United on May 29 to continue to provide air service at Presque Isle International until May 2022.