Allegiant Plans 3rd Flight to Orlando

There must be something appealing about nonstop flights from Michiana to sunny locations.

At least Allegiant Airlines thinks that's the case.

Just a month after announcing new service from South Bend to the Tampa Bay area, the privately held airline said Tuesday it will add a third weekly flight from here to Orlando, Fla.

The additional service to Orlando will start Feb. 12.

"We are very pleased with the continued performance of the Michiana market," Maurice J. Gallagher, the airline's president and chief executive, said in a release.

"This is wonderful news," said John Schalliol, executive director of the airport. "Each of those jets is equivalent to three or four regional jets in terms of seats."

Allegiant started low-cost service between South Bend and Las Vegas in August 2005 and subsequently added flights to Orlando and additional service to Las Vegas.

It's newest service to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is set to get under way on Nov. 17.

Not including the new service, Allegiant already is carrying about 10 percent of the passengers leaving the airport, Schalliol said.

And he pointed out the airline's success has helped draw positive attention to the airport, which has struggled like many other airports because of the difficulties faced by the airline industry following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"They've made us look good again," Schalliol said. "Somebody in the airline industry feels we have a market for air service."

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