SRQ Airport Announces Arrival of Allegiant Air

Travel

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING WEDNESDAY JAN 10, 2018

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport has added a new airline to its roster with today’s announcement of the arrival of Allegiant Air. Beginning April 2018, Allegiant Air will offer year-round, nonstop flights from SRQ Airport to Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. This brings the total number of carriers working through SRQ Airport to seven, with 15 cities available for direct flights between them. “The airline community is recognizing the tremendous growth of the Manatee and Sarasota communities,” says Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority Chairman Robert Spencer.

“This is a significant day for Sarasota,” adds SRQ Airport CEO Rick Piccolo, noting that the airport has pursued an arrangement with Allegiant for years. A “long desired” carrier, rarely a public event would pass when he wouldn’t receive at least one Allegiant-related inquiry. And with an annual economic impact of nearly 1 billion, expansion of airport facilities and services remains a “joint goal” between SRQ Airport, the convention and visitors bureaus of Sarasota and Manatee counties and both the Sarasota and Bradenton Area economic development corporations. This latest development “would not be possible” without those efforts, credits Piccolo.

Speaking for the Las Vegas-based airline, Allegiant Air Manager of Airport Affairs Bud Hafer took the podium to announce the three planned routes and deliver details. Nonstop flights to Indianapolis and Pittsburgh will both start April 11, 2018 with fares as low as $56 for the former and $50 for the latter. Nonstop flights to Cincinnati begin two days later, on April 13, with fares as low as $48. Flights will be twice weekly and year-round, bringing more than 50,000 passengers to and from the area.

Low costs come from low overhead, says Hafer, with Allegiant buying many of its aircraft used and seeking out smaller, less-trafficked and therefore less expensive airports with underserved markets to operate from. These savings are then passed to the consumer. In addition, Allegiant operates from a base fare, meaning that ticket-buyers purchase exactly that—a ticket. “And if you want to pay for a bag, you pay for a bag,” says Hafer, but no passenger subsidizes another passenger’s extras.

Sarasota is “a natural fit,” Hafer continues. “We’re strong in Southwest Florida and we’re excited to be here.” The move was a natural progression, and Allegiant is interested in where this progress will lead next. More destinations are possible, depending on demand.

Pictured, from left: SRQ Airport CEO Rick Piccolo, Bud Hafer of Allegiant Air and Chairman Robert Spencer of the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority announce the arrival of Allegiant Air. Photo by Phil Lederer.

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