Allegiant adds more Florida flights

After three successive months of flights averaging more than 90 percent occupancy, Allegiant Air is adding flights from Knoxville to Florida.

That means the low-cost airline will fly to Florida five days a week rather than four days.

Allegiant currently has nonstop service from Knoxville to Florida cities St. Petersburg/Tampa, which began in December. Flights to Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas launched in February.

The Las Vegas-based airline is adding Saturday and Sunday flights to Orlando and a Tuesday flight to Tampa.

Allegiant, which focuses on tourism business and tourism packages, allows passengers to book entire vacations - including accommodations - on the airline's Web site, www.allegiantair.com.

Since the launch of Allegiant's Knoxville service, the combined flights through May have been averaging a load factor of 87 percent, according to the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority. A load factor is the number of passengers in a month divided by the total number of seats available that month.

"The Knoxville community has shown a tremendous demand for our low-cost service," said Maurice Gallagher, the airline's president and CEO.

"We are confident this new schedule will have great appeal," he added.

According to the Airport Authority, the number of Allegiant seats filled in May averaged 92 percent, 94 percent in June and estimates for July are 95 to 96 percent.

Allegiant announced earlier this month it will add flights to Phoenix and Fort Lauderdale to 13 markets it serves. That has prompted the airport to mount a petition drive at www.flyknoxville.com to show support for Knoxville getting those additional destinations.

The airline will periodically announce the cities it selects in coming weeks, with the last announcement coming in late September. The flights begin Oct. 25.


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