Travelers flying out of the University Park Airport will have more options this fall, with Allegiant Air announcing new service in State College.
From State College, Allegiant will add nonstop flights to two destinations in Florida: Orlando/Sanford on Wednesdays and Saturdays and Tampa/St. Pete on Fridays and Mondays, according to Kristen Schilling-Gonzales, managing director of planning at the Las Vegas-based budget airline. The new service starts in October, but travelers are able to book now, with introductory rates starting at $69 each way.
“We’re very excited to bring our brand of convenient, friendly service to State College with these two routes, and we’re very grateful for the partnership of Penn State University, as we have worked together over the years to reach this milestone,” Drew Wells, Allegiant vice president of planning and revenue, said in a press release.
Bryan Rodgers, director of the airport, said that Florida is a high-demand market for central Pennsylvania travelers.
“No more will travelers have to endure long distance drives to and from alternate airports to access nonstop flights to Florida,” he said at the press conference Tuesday. “With today’s announcement, travelers will be able to conveniently access Allegiant Air from their hometown airport.”
Penn State, the airport, the airport authority and Allegiant all worked together to make this happen, he said. “We look forward to this new partnership with Allegiant Air,” he said.
James Meyer, Centre County Airport Authority executive director, said the four flights a week with Airbus 319 and 320 will add more than 600 seats a week to Florida.
“Allegiant’s faith in our market is now solidified with the announcement of direct service to two new destinations in our number one market, the southeast,” Meyer said. “This has been a long time coming and we are very excited and thrilled to add Allegiant to our list of airlines serving University Park Airport.”
University Park Airport added two flights a day to Chicago O’Hare International Airport in April. It started offering direct flights to Chicago in 2014. The State College airport also offers direct flights to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Detroit.
Chris Groshel, chairman of the Centre County Airport Authority, said the addition of Allegiant Air services at University Park goes hand-in-hand with the airport’s planned expansions and updates to accommodate more travelers.
“In the next several weeks, we’ll be breaking ground on an expanded and improved parking lot and with this announcement today, the authority will be looking at advancing our terminal expansion plans that were conceptualized last year,” he said.
Those plans include adding a second floor to the terminal with the capacity to hold 200-300 people, said Groshel, and adding jetways for passengers to walk from the terminal to the plane. The authority is looking at moving up its expansion timeline to meet the needs of more travelers and possibly add some larger airplanes, he said.
They also are looking at expanding air service to other places in the south, but Groshel said he couldn’t elaborate more on those efforts at the time.
Rodgers said that after a record year in 2018 of over 150,000 passengers boarding airplanes at University Park, the Allegiant Air partnership could push passenger enplanements to 175,000 annually.
“This type of activity allows us to grow, allows us to do some more capital development that’s justifiable in order to meet the passenger demands,” he said.