Southwest Airlines is adding twice-daily, one-stop flights from Long Island MacArthur Airport to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina starting Thursday, officials said.
The service upgrade eliminates plane changes in Baltimore. Instead the flights will stop there for about 30 minutes before continuing on to Raleigh-Durham International Airport without requiring passengers to deplane. The first flight on the new schedule is slated to take off at 5:45 p.m. Thursday.
“The new routing will make for a much better customer experience for travelers,” Southwest spokesman Dan Landson said in an email.
Airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken said the Raleigh-Durham market is one of the “top 20 cities” that the town-owned airport has identified as likely destinations for Long Island travelers.
“The airport considers this route another air service success,” LaRose-Arken said, adding that the goal has always been “to be able to offer more opportunities for people to travel either for leisure or business with great connections.”
Airport officials launched a $25,000, marketing campaign in mid-February to promote the service upgrade. The six-week initiative is primarily digital advertising with a focus on Nassau and Suffolk counties.
The departing one-stop flights leave Islip at 6:15 a.m., arriving in Raleigh-Durham at 9:40 a.m., and leave Islip at 5:45 p.m., arriving in Raleigh-Durham at 9:05 p.m. One-stop flights leave Raleigh-Durham at 8:45 a.m., arriving at Islip at 11:55 a.m. and leave Raleigh-Durham at 9 p.m., arriving at Islip at 11:55 p.m.
“The biggest benefit is to the business community,” LaRose-Arken said. “You can actually take a flight in the morning and return on the same day. Aside from the fact that there are a lot family connections [in North Carolina] . . . There’s a huge business market for Raleigh-Durham.”