VOL. 131 | NO. 8 | Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Another Week, Another New Destination for Memphis Airport
MADELINE FABER & JANE DONAHOE | The Daily News
Memphis International Airport has announced its second new destination in as many weeks, this time from low-cost airline Allegiant Air.
Allegiant has announced a new route to Jacksonville, Fla., starting April 15.
The carrier will add a twice-weekly flight from Memphis to Jacksonville, Fla., bringing its total count of destinations from Memphis to seven. Allegiant, which began operations locally last May, currently flies Memphis routes to Austin, Texas; Las Vegas, Nev.; Phoenix/Mesa, Ariz.; and Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg-Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The new Jacksonville flight starts April 15 and will run on Fridays and Mondays. Introductory fares start at $39 if booked by Wednesday, Jan. 13, for travel through Aug. 16.
Allegiant advertising manager Kim Downing, speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Jan. 12, said the Las Vegas-based carrier has grown quickly in Memphis because the market has embraced the low-cost model. She added that Allegiant will make another round of flight announcements in March and additional MEM flights are possible.
Phil Trenary, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, said the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority’s recruitment efforts have helped create good jobs and attract talent and capital to the city.
He added that the airport’s growth will help fuel discussions he’s having later this week with a large corporation looking to locate to Memphis.
“It’s a much different situation than a year ago,” he said.
In a statement, MSCAA chairman Pace Cooper said the “ultimate level of new low-cost service at MEM will be solely determined by load factors and overall utilization by the Mid-South community.”
“We believe there is still unmet demand,” he added.
The new year is off to a hopping start for Memphis International. Last week, Frontier Airlines said it would add three weekly nonstop flights between Memphis and Atlanta.
“This is the slowest period for airlines, so it’s good to have a couple announcements to kick the year off,” said Glen Thomas, public information officer for MSCAA.
With 12 new flight announcements at MEM in all of 2015, the airport is carving a strategy of building out small, low-cost carriers to replace the spokes of a hub carrier.
The new Allegiant flight to Jacksonville increases the reach into the leisure market, making vacations affordable for all Memphians, Thomas added.
Jacksonville comes in at No. 8 on the MSCAA’s target destination list. Released last year, the list of 21 destinations is still topped with flights to San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, San Diego and Portland.
Thomas added that MSCAA is still pursuing these destinations, but they’re more difficult to secure because the distance and fuel costs require a large carrier.
The Memphis-Jacksonville route was one of 19 new routes Allegiant announced Tuesday, Jan. 12.