Portland-based Elite Airways has received regulatory approval to fly scheduled nonstop flights from Dulles International Airport to Melbourne International Airport in Florida, the airline said Tuesday.
Tickets are now on sale via the company’s website, eliteairways.com, and the first flight is scheduled for Sept. 8. Elite will start out with two scheduled round-trip flights per week, on Mondays and Thursdays. Prices range from $200 to $320 for a one-way ticket.
Despite its designation as a charter service, anyone can purchase tickets.
“We are looking forward to welcoming our first customers to our scheduled service,” Elite President John Pearsall said in a news release. “We anticipate interest in this service from both business and leisure travelers looking for convenient and affordable options.”
Pearsall said in July that the airline plans to add additional routes by the end of the year, pending U.S. Department of Transportation approval. The additional routes are likely to include service between Melbourne and Portland International Jetport, he said.
The reason Elite’s Washington-to-Melbourne route is considered a charter service is that Elite still does not have the necessary Federal Aviation Administration license to operate long-term, scheduled passenger service, said Pearsall.
The company expects to obtain the license by December, at which point the airline will expand its schedule to five-days-a-week service and add more destinations, he said.
Founded in 2006, Elite operates a fleet of five Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft, each of which holds 50 passengers. As part of the airline’s expansion, it plans to purchase a Boeing 757-200 jetliner, which seats 175 passengers.
Elite’s focus has been on providing charter service to professional and college sports teams, company executives, government officials and VIP tour groups throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean.
Pearsall has said private charter service will remain a big part of the business.