Elite Airways is adding direct flights from its hub at Portland International Jetport to Bar Harbor and Islip, New York, which is on Long Island.

Starting June 17, on Fridays and Sundays passengers can fly nonstop from Portland to Long Island MacArthur Airport, also known as Islip Airport, in an area known for its wineries on the North Fork and beaches along Southampton and Fire Island, the airline said.

From Long Island, passengers also can connect to other Elite Airways flights to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Orlando-Melbourne in central Florida, to which Elite offers twice-weekly service from Portland.

Nonstop service from Portland to Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in Trenton, just outside Bar Harbor, is also being introduced, Elite said, making for a fast, easy connection for passengers flying to or from Down East Maine. It also represents the first-ever commercial jet service being introduced at the Bar Harbor airport, the airline said.

Elite President John Pearsall said the two new destinations were chosen based on feedback from passengers to its other destinations, which also include Naples and Vero Beach, Florida; Fort Collins, Colorado; Newark, New Jersey; Paducah, Kentucky; and Rockford, Illinois.

“A lot of people expressed interest in Bar Harbor to counter the big drive up there,” Pearsall said.

Round-trip flights from Portland will range in price from $198 to $398 for Long Island, and from $158 to $298 for Bar Harbor. Pearsall said Long Island will be a year-round destination for the airline, while Bar Harbor is intended to be seasonal with a tentative schedule of June through September.

One flight to and from each of the new destinations will leave on Fridays and Sundays. Pearsall said the schedule is designed to be ideal for weekend getaways.

“If it does very, very well, we’ll add more destinations,” he said.

Christopher Fogg, CEO of the Maine Tourism Association and former executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, said the flights should help boost tourism both in Maine and on Long Island.

The Portland flights may be particularly attractive to New York City residents, many of whom don’t own cars, he said.

“It can do nothing but bring people in,” Fogg said.

Adding more nonstop flights to Portland and Bar Harbor will give visitors more choices in how to reach Maine destinations, airline and tourism officials said. Fogg said both Portland and Bar Harbor airports have rental car agencies on site for those who arrive by plane.

“The majority of people, when they come to the state of Maine, they’re driving,” he said.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

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