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POMONA, NJ-Even with all of the casino activity, Atlantic City International Airport has long struggled to generate traffic. Most of that casino activity comes into the region by car or bus, and most South Jerseyans go to Philadelphia to fly out of the region.

A couple of airlines are increasing their service out of the airport, whose terminal was expanded a few years ago to handle such traffic. First, Continental Express has kicked off daily service to Cleveland, one of Continental’s three hubs and a connecting link to more than 100 cities. The South Jersey Transportation Authority signed a one-year-deal with the carrier, and will give Continental $2 million to offset any financial losses on the service.

Spirit Airlines will give Atlantic City its first coast-to-coast service, flying to Los Angeles via Chicago. Spirit is the descendent of a carrier called Charter One, founded two decades ago to provide charters from Boston, Chicago and Detroit to Atlantic City’s gaming tables.

Atlantic City International has been flirting with the one million-passenger mark in recent years, and the SJTA is preparing for growth with a plan to build close to 3,000 new parking spaces. The agency is also stepping up efforts to bring business and leisure travelers through the airport for destinations all across the region, rather than just to Atlantic City.

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