Harrison County

Allegiant airline will return to Coast with low rates, nonstop flights to Orlando

From left to right, Biloxi Mayor Andrew 'Fofo' Gilich, Daniel Meier of Allegiant airline, Clay Williams of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport and Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes are joined by balloon-carrying children on hand Tuesday morning to welcome Allegiant back to the airport. Allegiant will be offering flights twice weekly between Gulfport and Orlando.
From left to right, Biloxi Mayor Andrew 'Fofo' Gilich, Daniel Meier of Allegiant airline, Clay Williams of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport and Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes are joined by balloon-carrying children on hand Tuesday morning to welcome Allegiant back to the airport. Allegiant will be offering flights twice weekly between Gulfport and Orlando. calee@sunherald.com

​Allegiant airline announced Tuesday it is returning to the Coast Tuesday, with nonstop flights from Gulfport to Orlando and one-way fares as low as $29, beginning August 30.

Allegiant will twice weekly offer flights on full-size jets between the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport and Orlando Sanford International Airport. Allegiant bills itself as an “ultra-low cost carrier,” with a basic price for a ticket and a la carte prices for add-ons such as baggage check.

Allegiant served the Biloxi-Gulfport market in 2007 but left the airport about 1 1/2 years later, primarily due to fuel costs, the airline and airport said at the time.

The state worked to lure back the airline with a revenue guarantee administered by the Mississippi Development Authority. The agreement sets out Allegiant’s anticipated revenue per flight.

If those goals are not met, the state will reimburse Allegiant up to $1.1 million over one year, said MDA CFO James T. “Jay” McCarthy. He said the one-year agreement can be extended for one year.

“We welcome Allegiant and value their partnership in providing nonstop service from Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport to the Orlando market,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in a news release from Allegiant. “Affordable air service is essential for future growth, and this new service will expose many visitors from central Florida to the natural beauty and hospitality of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Clay Williams, the airport’s executive director, said the casino industry’s participation should help Allegiant meet its goals. Seven casinos have signed on to use Allegiant’s services for patrons, he said, compared to only three when service was previously offered through Airbus.

Flight schedules and fares are available at Allegiant.com, where customers also can find service options and baggage fees. Allegiant says its introductory fares will be available only one way and will not apply to all flights. The news release says customers can buy tickets by Thursday for travel by Feb. 13.

Williams said Allegiant service will lead to growth for the airport and Coast tourism.

Allegiant on Tuesday also announced its adding service in Norfolk, Virginia, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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