Saturday, August 26, 2017

Allegiant Air leaving Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (KAVP), Avoca Pennsylvania

 The airline that offers direct flights from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport to Orlando and Tampa Bay is leaving Northeast Pennsylvania.

Allegiant Air plans to discontinue service from Pittston Twp. to the Florida destinations starting January 4th, airline spokeswoman Krysta Levy said.

“Demand in the area was simply not high enough to continue service at this time,” Levy said Friday. “Any passengers who have booked travel in or out of AVP after that date have been reached out to individually to be refunded or reaccommodated. Travelers can still fly with us at nearby airports with Allegiant service, including Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown.”

The discount carrier has run flights to Orlando Sanford International Airport for about five years and began offering flights to St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport in the Tampa Bay area in late 2015.

Carl Beardsley, director of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport, said Allegiant has two weekly round-trip flights to each of the Orlando and Tampa areas out of Northeast Pennsylvania.

“We’re really disappointed, but for the positive side of things, we’re having a great year,” Beardsley said. “Planes are full. We have record-breaking enplanements. We have a good story to tell for going out to other airlines to fill the void.”

Allegiant told airport officials the move was a business decision, with the airline also pulling out of some other small markets such as Casper, Wyoming, and Youngstown, Ohio, in January.

Levy said the moves were also based on demand and that it is not a fundamental shift in the operation’s business model.

“(Airport administration) is still in conversations to try to get them to stay, but their business plan says they need to focus on bigger markets,” Lackawanna County Commissioner Jerry Notarianni said. “It’s sad to see it happen.”

Allegiant Air is a subsidiary of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co., which reported to investors that net income for the first six months of 2017 slipped to $90.1 million, compared with $132.8 million in the first six months of 2016 — a 32.2 percent decline.

Allegiant is launching many new flights as well, including from Columbus, Ohio, to Austin, Texas, and from Las Vegas to Louisville, Kentucky, among others.

Beardsley noted Northeast Pennsylvania travelers can still get to the Florida destinations from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton via connecting flights from United, Delta and American airlines.

“Potentially, other airlines could provide similar service to Allegiant, whether a new carrier or an incumbent carrier,” Beardsley said. “We’re constantly talking to airlines to see about expanding service into the airport.”

Original article can be found here ➤ http://thetimes-tribune.com

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