Aug 24, 2012 at 8:53 am
ST. CLOUD, MN (KNSI) - Now flying from the St. Cloud Regional Airport---Allegiant Air service to Mesa, Arizona. That's the call you'll soon hear out at the airport. The big announcement Thursday that Allegiant Air will start flying regular flights in and out of the airport beginning December 15th.
"The flights are going to be starting out two days a week," Allegiant's Manager of Airport planning said. "They are ultimately going to be settling on regularly Sunday and Thursday. The flights are going to be flown with a 166 seat md80."
For the next week, you can buy introductory one-way tickets from St. Cloud to Mesa for just $89.99 -- round trip is under $230 bucks. Tickets are on sale now through Allegiant's website. Fletcher said they're excited to help reopen the St. Cloud market.
"We've heard from many members of the community that this route would be a slam dunk and they were just bugging us to start, and we felt a little bit bad making the community wait, but we wanted to be wait to launch when it is rather cold here," Fletcher said. "Phoenix is all the more attractive starting December 15th."
Al Kremers with the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation says while flights between St. Cloud and Chicago were the top priority, they aren't overlooking how huge those Mesa runs could be.
"We kind of classified that route as being the leisure route, and that is a little harder to get your hands around as far as potential that is going to come from an individual company," Kremers said. "The real key is, book and we will retain them and they will expand the service."
Airport Director Bill Towle agreed that this represents a valuable inroad for the airport.
"Any service can breed additional service...so by getting even a charter carrier in here, or allegiant which is a scheduled carrier, we are starting to put butts in the seat if you will," Towle said. "That gets the attention of these other air carriers that look at that and say wow, they are doing some activity at the St. Cloud Regional Airport, we better look at that again."
While the airport looks to expand with other careers, Allegiant will be watching the traffic at St. Cloud Regional to see if the airport would warrant service to any of the airline's 88 other destinations.
"If the seats are filled the airlines stay and if they are filled up quickly then they stay longer and add additional flights," Fletcher said. "That is the exact benchmark we're going to be using to judge it and that is what we're going to be using to decide whether we add different destinations whether we add additional frequencies." Fletcher added that evaluation will start immediately.
Along with Towle and Fletcher, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis stated his optimism that more service option could be on the way to the airport, and soon.
"This is that one step, we expect an additional step in another announcement before the year is over for flights leaving to Chicago," Kleis said after quipping there should be a similar press conference in Mesa because, "they should be excited about air service to St. Cloud."
Final destinations for Allegiant flights from Mesa include San Francisco, Las Vegas and Honolulu. The airline and the Transportation Safety Administration personnel will begin moving into the airport in the coming weeks.