VIENNA - Air travelers looking for a vacation destination were given a new option Tuesday when Allegiant Air announced nonstop jet service between Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and Punta Gorda, Fla.
Just hours after the announcement, more than 200 tickets had already been sold, airport Director of Aviation Dan Dickten said, calling the location a "very, very popular destination."
The Las Vegas-based airline, which has been flying regularly out of the local airport since May 2006, will add the twice-weekly flight to south Florida beginning Oct. 30, boasting fares as low as $89.99 one way. The new flights will use MD-80 series aircraft.
Dickten expressed his excitement at the newest flight, calling it "a long time coming for the many patrons of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and the Northeast Ohio communities who have ties to Southwest Florida."
But the addition of flights may not stop here. Dickten said talks are continuing with Allegiant and other airlines about the addition of more flights and destinations.
"Southwest Florida has been a successful part of our vacation destination offerings for some time," said Andrew Levy, Allegiant Travel Company president. "Expanding our base at Punta Gorda Airport will allow us to give more of our markets access to the Southwest Florida coast and offer travelers more affordable vacation options.
''We are confident residents of the Mahoning Valley and northeast Ohio will appreciate our affordable, nonstop service to popular southwest Florida destinations," Levy said.
The expansion of routes into Punta Gorda will result in two additional MD-80 series aircraft based at Punta Gorda Airport, as well as additional demand for air-service related jobs, the company said.
Punta Gorda Airport, located midway between Fort Myers and Sarasota, becomes the fourth Allegiant non-stop destination from Youngstown. Others include Myrtle Beach, S.C., Orlando, Fla., and St. Petersburg, Fla.
The YNG to PGD direct route was just one of eight nationwide announced Tuesday by the company. Other new flights beginning this fall to Punta Gorda will originate from Bangor, Maine; Allentown, Pa.; Springfield/Branson, Mo.; Moline/Quad Cities, Ill.; Asheville, N.C.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Des Moines.
Travelers can book flights along with hotel, car and activity reservations. Flight days and times can be found at allegiant.com.