Allegiant Air to Offer Florida Flights From MidAmerica

MidAmerica St. Louis Airport will again have flights to Florida.

Allegiant Air will announce today that it will operate the Florida runs that ended when TransMeridian Airlines ceased operation on Sept. 30.

"We're taking over where TMA (TransMeridian Airlines) left off as far as Orlando," said Tyri Squyres, a spokesman for Allegiant Air.

She said Tuesday the deal was finalized about a week ago. Although the airline received some incentives when it began flights to Las Vegas in March, Squyres did not know what incentives were part of this deal.

St. Clair County offered Allegiant $220,000 in marketing incentives and waived landing fees for a year in exchange for one-year of scheduled service to Las Vegas.

Airport Director Tim Cantwell would not confirm Allegiant's new service to the Orlando area but said: "I told you (on Sept. 30) that we anticipated that an airline would pick up this route in two to three weeks, because this route has always been prosperous."

As far as incentives, Cantwell said, "We always consider marketing incentives, that's always been a part of the model we use."

St. Clair County committed $310,000 in marketing incentives to TransMeridian in 2004, which offered flights twice a week to Sanford Airport, near Orlando. TransMeridian announced its plans to file for bankruptcy on Sept. 30 after failing to restructure its debt, stranding several passengers.

Cantwell declined to give further details until a news conference scheduled for 10 a.m. today.

Squyres said more information regarding the Orlando flight schedule would be available after the news conference, but she said, "Generally we start a new service route with two flights a week. We're a fast-growing company, but we like to move conservatively."

Earlier this week at MidAmerica, officials unveiled a 50,000-square-foot cargo building.

Contact reporter Aliana Ramos at or 239-2507.

Belleville News Democrat

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