ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CBS) – An expansion of service has begun at Atlantic City International Airport, with an additional round trip to Chicago five days a week, and more to come.  It’s just part of the regional airport’s continued growth in recent years.

Spirit Airlines Flight 847 was set to lift off this afternoon, with about 100 people on board, for O’Hare.

Chicago becomes the third major city with direct service in and out of Atlantic City, joining Boston (also via Spirit) and Atlanta (via AirTran).

Bart Mueller, executive director for the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which runs the airport, says next month the Chicago flight will operate seven days a week — and continue on to Los Angeles.

“Governor Christie’s charge to us was to grow the airport and to support Atlantic City and South Jersey, and that’s what we’re doing,” Mueller said.

The airport now has 15 commercial departures and 15 arrivals per day, and had a record 1.4 million passengers last year. And they’re expanding the facility with a new customs building and three new gates.

And once AirTran, the other major airline in Atlantic City, is taken over by Southwest, the hope is to get even more traffic in and out of the resort town.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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