North Carolina

Airline books new flights for Outer Banks visitors to sail over traffic backups

NC State grad tweets Outer Banks photo taken from NASA’s International Space Station

NC State graduate-turned-astronaut Christina Koch gave a shoutout to her home state when she tweeted a photo of the Outer Banks taken from the International Space Station. The image shows North Carolina’s barrier islands from about 250 miles above.
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NC State graduate-turned-astronaut Christina Koch gave a shoutout to her home state when she tweeted a photo of the Outer Banks taken from the International Space Station. The image shows North Carolina’s barrier islands from about 250 miles above.

New weekend flights from the northeast could make it easier for some tourists to get to the Outer Banks.

The public charter flights will fly from Pittsburgh, Pennsylviania, Manassas, Virginia and Morristown, New Jersey to the Currituck County Regional Airport (ONX), where travelers can pick up a connecting flight to one of the small airstrips along the Outer Banks.

The Ultimate Air Shuttle tickets are pricey, ranging from just under $700 to $1,000 round-trip, and do not include the connecting flight to the Outer Banks. The flights will run Saturdays and Sundays, May 18 through September 14, according to the company.

“The Outer Banks spans roughly 130 miles from Virginia to Ocracoke. There are five other airports on the Outer Banks but they are limited to small private aircraft,” the company says on its website.

The connecting flights can get well-heeled travelers to popular Outer Banks beach spots Corolla, Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Hatteras or Ocracoke, the company says.

The Manassas, Virginia airport (HEF) serves the Washington DC area. And the Morristown, New Jersey airport (MMU) serves the New York and Philadelphia metro areas.

“It’s always been an assumption that you can’t get to the Outer Banks unless you drive,” aviation consultant Larry Vickers said in a press release.

“Dealing with traffic congestion can add hours to your trip; but, it’s historically been the only option available,” Vickers said in a press release from Currituck Economic Development.

“We’re looking at 19 to 30 seats per plane, providing two round-trip flights per weekend day,” Vickers said. “That’s just a small response compared to the total number coming to the Outer Banks in one weekend. It’s small, but it’s a start.”

“Increasing traffic to the airport is almost always a win-win proposition,” Currituck County Economic Development Director Larry Lombardi said.

“Because nothing does a better job of promoting Currituck County than the county itself. When someone lands at ONX and steps out of the plane… there’s just something about this place that’s hard to resist,” Lombardi said in the press release.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund maintains the Corolla Wild Horses. Here's a closer look at their efforts to rehabilitate injured and sick horses off the beach.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.
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