PLATTSBURGH State Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward undoubtedly expressed the sentiments of the many in the large crowd of government and business leaders present at a Sept. 5 news conference when she closed her remarks saying, My bags are packed and Im ready to go!
The community leaders gathered to hear the announcement that beginning Nov. 16 Allegiant Air, a Las Vegas based, low-cost airline focusing on transporting tourists from small cities, will provide twice a week direct flights to and from Plattsburgh International Airport and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Every Tuesday and Friday flights will depart Fort Lauderdale at 1:55 p.m., arrive in Plattsburgh at 5:25 p.m., depart Plattsburgh at 6 p.m. and arrive in Florida at 9:20 p.m. Allegiant Air is celebrating the Plattsburgh service with an introductory one-way fare as low as $79. These tickets must be purchased by Sept. 29, 2007 for travel through Feb. 10, 2008. After the introductory fare period, regular one-way fares will range from $99 to $250. Ft. Lauderdale is well known for its beautiful beaches, inland waterways and as a major cruise ship departure point.
Garry Douglas, President and CEO of the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce said, Allegiant is the first airline we approached last year because they are already successful at border airports such as Bellingham, Washington and truly understand the outstanding opportunity at Plattsburgh. With Fort Lauderdale identified in our surveys as the number one destination Montr顬ers hoped to reach from Plattsburgh, we know Allegiant will not only be successful here but will develop additional flights and destinations over the next few years.
Allegiant Airs Director of Marketing and Sales Eric Woodson said, If the Ft. Lauderdale route is as successful as we hope, St. Petersburg, Orlando and Las Vegas would be logical service extensions. The importance of Montreal in the airports future was highlighted when Clinton Country Legislators Celine Paquette and Samuel Trombley spoke French when they addressed the press conference, which included Montreal media representatives.
Tyri Squyres, Director of Corporate Communications for Allegiant Air, said bookings have already been brisk.
Bookings have been great to date and have well exceeded our initial expectations. We don't release specific numbers, but this is the most successful announcement of Fort Lauderdale service to date, Squyres said.
We are seeing quite a good number of reservations from the Canadian side as well.
Douglas said he anticipates that the service will also be utilized by Floridians looking to escape the heat in Plattsburgh.
People from South Florida will want to come to the Adirondacks via Plattsburgh," he said.
According to an airport commissioned survey, 43 percent of Montreal travelers are already using U.S. airports on occasion as an alternative to Trudeau Airport in Montreal. The survey also said 82 percent would consider flying from Plattsburgh for vacation travel because of lower cost airfares, non-stop flights, free parking, easy highway access to the airport and skipping airport customs.
Allegiant Air will be flying the MD80 series 150 passenger jets in and out of Plattsburgh. The airline was founded in 1997 and is continually adding cities to its itinerary. It currently flies from 48 small cities to Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Fort Lauderdale and Phoenix-Mesa. In 2006, the Allegiant Air issued stock on the NASDAQ exchange (ALGT). Its second quarter 2007 revenues totaled $88.9 million compared to $59.7 million in the comparable 2006 quarter. All its travel is ticketless. All fares are one-way and an overnight Saturday stay is never required. On board passengers pay for soft drinks and snacks. Its vacation division offers flight-hotel-rental car vacation packages at all its destinations. To make reservations go to www.allegiantair.com .