Posted on: 15 February 2018 by Kimberley Young
Low-fare airline Allegiant has announced plans to invest more than US$49 million to establish a year-round base of operations at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) in Florida, which will house two Airbus aircraft.
The airport will become the airline’s 14th year-round aircraft base. Allegiant set the stage for the expansion by using the airport as a seasonal base during summer 2017.
“We are excited to continue our growth in Florida’s Emerald Coast by establishing a full-time base at Destin-Fort Walton Beach,” said Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., Allegiant’s chairman and CEO. “The base will not only afford many more options when it comes to adding routes and expanding service, but will also give us the opportunity to contribute even more to the community and the state’s economy.”
The aircraft base is expected to have a large impact on the region’s economy, bringing an anticipated $418 million in tourism revenue on a five-year horizon. As part of Allegiant’s growth in Florida, the company anticipates adding more than 65 new, high-wage jobs during 2018.
Allegiant employs more than 4,000 team members across the country, and plans to immediately begin hiring pilots, flight attendants, maintenance technicians and ground personnel to support its operations.
Allegiant’s service in Destin-Fort Walton Beach began with six routes in 2016, and expanded to 16 cities in 2017. In celebration of the new base, the carrier has announced new, seasonal services to five cities, bringing the total number of cities with service to the Emerald Coast to 21.
“We are thrilled! Allegiant’s model fits like a glove at VPS and a year-round base will bring monumental widespread economic impacts to our region. We look forward to Allegiant’s continued success at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport,” said Tracy Stage, Okaloosa County’s airports director.
The new routes will operate twice weekly, and will bring nearly 25,000 additional visitors to the area.
“The partnership that we have enjoyed with Allegiant has helped to make us the fastest growing destination in the Southeast,” said Carolyn Ketchel, commissioner and aviation board member. “We are thrilled to have this additional base of operations that will bring new destinations and jobs.”