It was on June 16, 2014, that United Airlines announced its new non-stop Saturday service between Chicago, Illinois and Belize City, Belize, and on Saturday, December, 20, the inaugural flight arrived at Belize’s Phillip Goldson International Airport.
Chicago is the third largest city in the United States and tapping into this new market is a big step for both United Airlines and Belize; it will definitely mean greater numbers for overnight tourism arrivals which have seen a 9.2% growth recently. Belize’s US based carriers are responsible for bringing 70% of all overnight visitors to the country.
Tracey Taegar-Panton, CEO, Ministry of Tourism, told Channel 7 News of Belize City, “We are proud of the partnership we shared with United Airlines since its inaugural service to Belize in 1988. What a long way we have come. From a single flight out of its Houston hub to 2 and sometimes 4 daily flights from Houston, weekly service from Newark and now a weekly service from Chicago. This partnership has insured that the North American market continues to be the primary source market for the tourism sector with Houston being our busiest hub."
Indira Craig and Tracey Teager-Panton partake in the ribbon cutting for the inaugural flight of United Airlines direct flight from Chicago to Belize
United Airlines plans to have this seasonal service from Chicago O'Hare to Belize City which began on December 20 and run through early May on Saturday’s only; it is United's 375th direct destination flight. The airline already flies to Belize from Houston and Newark Liberty.
"Chicago's O'Hare International with its 8 runways served some 67 million passengers, 885,000 aircrafts and moves some 1.4 million metric tons of cargo annually and is one of the world greatest ports of call recognized as North America's best airport on no less than 10 occasions,” commented United Airlines Country Manager, Indira Craig to Belize City media. “It is our hope that with this flight, United Airlines will not just open the friendly skies for Chicago's nearly 2.7 million residents, but connects seamlessly our very own diaspora of Belizean heritage and ancestry and create a new network option that will not just offer more to America's nearly 47 million tourists, but the world, as a global carrier making it yet another route to access and to see the splendor of our jewel."
As of December 2014, Belize now has nonstop service from Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, California, Dallas, Charlotte, Newark, Chicago and San Salvador.
United Airlines Belize Country Manager, Indira Craig