Allegiant Airlines is expanding and has now announced new flights targeting back east, but locally it is a different story at the Idaho Falls Airport. Summer Joy explains the situation and tells us why there are still some great possibilities to come.
Over this past summer, Allegiant Airlines has offered four different flights to Las Vegas, San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles, but because they are seasonal flights two of them are disappearing for a short time.
"The problem with the seasonality of Allegiant Airlines is in the operation restrictions that their home base is requireing of them, which is out of the Los Angeles Airport called the Slot System. This means there is more flights at the airport than there are available gates," said Craig Davis, the Idaho Falls Airport Director.
Every year Allegiant Airlines has 60 to 70 thousand passengers making them the number one carrier at the Idaho Falls Airport, but because the Los Angeles and Oakland flights are under different operating restrictions Allegiant Airlines has removed those flights and at this point have not announced when they will return; only stating they are seasonal.
"We are constantly talking with Allegiant about considering expansion with the Los Angeles and the Oakland flights year round or at least through the holiday season. Their response is they are continually looking at establishing a new base that has less operating restrictions," added Davis.
Having these flights gone for a short time though has not stopped the airport from growing; in early July they applied for a grant that will give Delta Airlines a new, direct flight from Idaho Falls to Minneapolis which will open the opportunity for more back east flights. The airport also just broke ground for phase 1 of the terminal expansion this week. This expansion will offer faster check-ins and more space to better serve its passengers. The Idaho Falls Airport Director also added that there is another possibility they could see a renewed direct flight to Boise.
"Growing the Idaho Falls Airport is a continual effort. It depends on the airlines, fuel costs, and basic economic situation in the United States. We are just trying to keep up with the speed of buisness," said Davis.
Craig goes on to say that they are excited and looking forward to this new expansion and the possibilities of new flights, more often.
The new expansion for phase one should be completed by April or MAY of 2014 and in three weeks they will find out if the grant for the back east flights was accepted. For the return of the LA and Oakland flights, Allegiant Airlines should announce the renewal, at the latest, first of the year.