Regional Development

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Allegiant to end Plattsburgh-Las Vegas route

By: DAN HEATH

PLATTSBURGH — Allegiant will end its service between Plattsburgh and Las Vegas in mid-March.

Allegiant Public Relations Specialist Micah Lillard said company will discontinue its scheduled service from Plattsburgh International Airport to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport on March 17. He said customers with reservations beyond that date will be contacted by Allegiant directly for a full refund.

“We are always disappointed to end service in a market. We thank Plattsburgh International Airport for their partnership and apologize to any travelers who are inconvenienced by this decision,” Lillard said by email. 

Plattsburgh International Airport Manager Chris Kreig said Allegiant officials informed him Wednesday night that the company will be ending its two weekly flights to McCarran International. 

Allegiant used Boeing 757 jets that could seat up to 233 passengers for the Las Vegas route. Kreig said the airport’s figures showed the flights averaged about 190 passengers each.

“From our vantage point, it was going pretty well,” he said.

‘HARD-NOSE DECISIONS’

Allegiant announced in September 2012 that it would start flights to Las Vegas. Those flights started Dec. 19 of that year. 

Kreig said the company said all along this was a test route and has now made a business decision based on the data from more than one year of flights.

“They know what routes are going well for them and what routes are underperforming,” he said.

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said that while the service has done well, in the world of low-cost carriers, hard-nosed decisions are often made regarding where to use aircraft. 

“They have apprised us of their decision that the aircraft can be more profitable on other routes, probably shorter distances,” he said by email. 

“We will be encouraging other carriers to look at Las Vegas, and Allegiant continues to evaluate other future opportunities at Plattsburgh, including eventual international service to the Caribbean when the terminal expansion makes that possible.”

FLORIDA FLIGHTS

Allegiant continues to run flights from Plattsburgh International Airport to four cities in Florida. Lillard said that service will remain unchanged.

However, the company announced early last November that it would begin twice-weekly flights this year from Burlington International Airport to Orlando.

The addition of low-cost flights to Florida from an airport just across Lake Champlain made some local officials nervous, as the county recently agreed to a major expansion of Plattsburgh International Airport.

Clinton County Legislator Jimmy Langley, who heads the Airport Committee, said Friday that while it’s disappointing that the Las Vegas service didn’t prove successful enough to Allegiant, it doesn’t make him second-guess the decision to undertake that expansion.

The legislature had already decided to embark on the project when Allegiant added the Las Vegas route, he said.

Later on, legislators settled on the largest of three proposals for the terminal, which will cost $53 million.

‘NATURE OF INDUSTRY’

Kreig said travelers can still get to Las Vegas from Plattsburgh, as Pen Air offers connections through Logan International Airport in Boston, and Spirit provides connections through Fort Lauderdale.

While those flights may be a little more expensive and take longer, both airlines offer daily flights, so travelers have more flexibility.

Allegiant officials told Kreig that numbers for its Florida routes continue to be strong. The airline offers service between Plattsburgh and Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando and Tampa Bay.

“This is the nature of the industry. They made a business decision, and we have to respect that,” Kreig said. “We’re moving on and will continue to go forward with this airport.” 

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

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