A regional affiliate of United Airlines will begin nonstop flights between St. Cloud Regional Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport in May, the first air service between the cities.

Utah-based SkyWest Airlines will provide twice-daily, seven-day-a-week service to O’Hare on behalf of United, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis said.

The 50-seat flights aboard a Bombardier CRJ 200 aircraft will begin May 6. Departure times from St. Cloud will be about 6 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., he said. Flights can be booked through either United or SkyWest.

“This is significant for economic development and regional vitality, and we’ve been working on it for a very long time,” Kleis said in an interview Monday.

The St. Cloud airport previously had flights to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Northwest Airlines. Those were discontinued after the 2008 merger of Northwest with Delta Air Lines, Kleis said.

Steve Alexander