BRIEF: Airline drops Vegas flights: Fuel too costly, Allegiant says

Nov. 13--GULFPORT -- Allegiant Air is dropping its twice-weekly service between the Coast and Las Vegas because of what the low-cost carrier said is "escalating fuel costs."

The service, which began June 1, will end Dec. 10. Customers who have reservations for Dec. 14 and beyond will be contacted directly by the airline.

Allegiant spokeswoman Tyri Squyres said the Gulfport-Las Vegas route was among six being canceled and five of them were new routes.

She said the distance between the two markets made it "a very expensive route to fly. It takes a while to have a market be profitable, and unfortunately with the escalation of fuel costs, we found it not to be a wise business decision to keep flying."

Jeremiah Gerald, air service development manager at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, said the airport "was disappointed, of course. We'd like to hang on to as many seats as we possibly can."

He said the Las Vegas flights were a little less than 70 percent full.

"The demand and loads were fine," Gerald said of the Monday and Friday flights. "It all boils down to fuel."

Allegiant's service to Orlando will not be affected, Gerald and Squyres said.

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