Make us your home page
Instagram

Allegiant posts another good year at St. Petersburg-Clearwater airport

Vacationers board an Allegiant nonstop flight to Lexington, Ky., at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2009)

Vacationers board an Allegiant nonstop flight to Lexington, Ky., at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International.

The airline that keeps the lights on at Pinellas County's biggest commercial airport gave tourism officials an upbeat message Wednesday.

"We're on a roll,'' Allegiant Air sales director John Fenyes told the county's Tourist Development Council. "I'd like to keep that momentum.''

Allegiant customers make up 93 percent of travelers going through St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. The jets take off at least 90 percent full on flights to 21 cities, mostly in the Midwest and Southeast. The company nearly doubled sales of area hotel rooms on its website in 2010 over last year, Fenyes said.

Allegiant came to the local market in late 2006 with an unusual strategy: flying vacationers from small cities nonstop to vacation destinations. The carrier typically flies routes only two or three times a week. Allegiant charged extra fees — for checked bags, food and drinks, even making reservations on its website — years before major airlines embraced the idea.

Low base fares attract those who otherwise might vacation closer to home or not travel. When Allegiant entered new markets, average airline fares to Tampa Bay dropped 50 percent, said Brian Davis, the airline's director of airport planning. The number of passengers nearly tripled.

Allegiant likes Tampa Bay's strong connections with Midwesterners, Davis said. The airline keeps a close eye on expenses, he said, and appreciated how the airport completed a $21 million terminal renovation using federal and state money almost exclusively.

In an industry known for riding economic ups and downs, Allegiant has posted profits every quarter since 2003.

The Pinellas airport handled 776,000 passengers in 2010, down only 400 from a year earlier, said director Noah Lagos. For comparison, Tampa International Airport had 16.6 million passengers for the year, off 320,000 or 1.9 percent, from 2009.

"It's good to see we have some stability,'' Lagos said.

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8128.

Flat year in tourism

Despite a cold start to the year and the scare over BP's oil spill, Pinellas tourism ended up in the black for 2010. Barely. Just more than 5 million overnight visitors came to the county, an increase of nearly 50,000, or 1 percent, over last year. Big losses in tourists from Europe and the Northeast were offset by more Midwesterners and Floridians. But hotel were forced to discount heavily to fill their rooms.

Allegiant posts another good year at St. Petersburg-Clearwater airport 02/09/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 11, 2011 1:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  2. Miami woman, 74, admits to voter fraud. Does jail await, or will she go free?

    State Roundup

    MIAMI — An 74-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday to filling out other people's mail-in ballots while working at Miami-Dade's elections department.

    Gladys Coego
  3. Bigger ships carry Georgia ports to record cargo volumes

    Economic Development

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Bigger ships arriving through an expanded Panama Canal pushed cargo volumes at Georgia's seaports to record levels in fiscal 2017, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Monday.

    The Port of Savannah moved a record 3.85 million container units in fiscal 2017, the state said, benefiting from the larger ships that can now pass through an expanded Panama Canal.
  4. Dragon ride in Harry Potter section of Universal closing for new themed ride

    Florida

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019 — sending wizard fans into a guessing game with hopes for a Floo Powder Network or the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge on Sept. 5 for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019. The ride, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, was renamed and incorporated into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the hugely popular area opened in 2010.
  5. Would you let your company implant a chip in you?

    Working Life

    Would you ask an employee to get a chip implanted in her hand? Sounds invasive and intrusive. But come Aug. 1, one company in Wisconsin will be giving it a try.

    Three Square Market - a developer of software used in vending machines - is offering all of its employees the option to get a microchip implanted between the thumb and forefinger. [Photo from video]