ST. GEORGE — A new flight connecting St. George and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway made its inaugural landing at the city-owned St. George Regional Airport Friday afternoon, bringing with it an affordable option for flights to and from southern Arizona.
Allegiant Air’s Airbus A319 landed in St. George at approximately 3:20 p.m. where it received a traditional water cannon salute courtesy of fire engine crews from the airport and St. George Fire Department.
The 40-minute flight arrived on schedule from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Arizona. While that airport is located about 20 miles southeast of Phoenix, fares are often significantly less expensive than similar flights to and from Phoenix proper at Sky Harbor International.
Promotional fares run as low as $49 before taxes and fees for roundtrip flights through Allegiant Air, with the tradeoff of a bit less legroom.
“We saw pent-up demand for service between St. George and the Phoenix area,” Kim Schaefer, Allegiant Air director of public relations, said in a statement to St. George News. “We believe our brand of ultra-low cost, nonstop service will be a hit with travelers in both cities, especially families with residents in both communities.”
Demand for flights to and from St. George is certainly high; virtually all flights are full, regardless of destination, St. George City Manager Adam Lenhard said.
The Phoenix-Mesa flight is currently scheduled to arrive and depart St. George Regional twice weekly, though additional flights may be added later.
“As they continue to prove the market, we think they’ll add additional flights,” Lenhard said, referring to Allegiant Air. “Any additional options you can give people to get to St. George at an affordable price, I think people will jump on that and take advantage of it.”
With the addition of Allegiant Air, the airport is now served by four airlines offering flights to and from Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. It’s also possible, Lenhard said, that additional airlines could decide to operate in St. George in the future.
“As this market continues to prove itself, certainly it could attract additional airlines – Southwest is one people ask about quite a bit,” he said, “Of course, we don’t control that – if they feel this is a market they want to serve, we’d be happy to accommodate any of those.”
Residents and travelers also frequently request additional destinations.
“We hear a lot of request for additional travel to the bay area – San Francisco, San Jose, additional West Coast locations – possibly to Seattle,” Lenhard said. “There are no plans at this time, but as the city continues to grow, we expect that down the road, we’ll be adding additional flights.”
With a parking lot that’s often full to capacity, the additional flights will only add to the parking shortage. Fortunately, the city is already in the process expanding the parking area.
The parking lot’s capacity will double next week when a portion of newly laid asphalt adjacent to the existing terminal parking is completed, Lenhard said.
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