Allegiant Air, a U.S. domestic low-cost carrier based in Las Vegas, announced Tuesday it will begin service in May to Savannah/Hilton Head International from three cities in Ohio.
The new routes include seasonal, nonstop service from:
• Akron/Canton, May 21 through Aug. 15, with introductory fares starting at $58.
• Columbus, June 4 through Aug. 16, with introductory fares starting at $57.
• Cincinnati, May 8 through Aug. 17, with introductory fares starting at $60.
Introductory fares must be purchased today for travel by Nov. 3, 2015. The company is also offering up to $500 off vacation packages in the same window.
“Allegiant is excited to announce Savannah/Hilton Head as its newest seasonal destination city,” said Jude Bricker, Allegiant Travel Company senior vice president of planning.
“We know Savannah/Hilton Head is a popular vacation destination, and Ohio residents in particular have been requesting we start service here for quite some time. We’re glad we can announce these three routes that Ohio travelers will be sure to take advantage of.”
Greg Kelly, executive director of the Savannah airport, agreed.
“Ohioans love visiting our region, so this new service will provide low cost and direct access to many who may have driven in the past,” he said. “In addition, locals will enjoy the new low-cost option for nonstop service to three great Midwestern cities.
“We’re very excited for the opportunity to build our relationship with Allegiant; we know they won’t be disappointed with the decision to fly to SAV.”
Visit Savannah President Joe Marinelli said his organization annually tracks travelers from Ohio as one of its top five feeder market states.
“The fact that locals often observe so many license plates from Ohio is no accident,” Marinelli said. “Not only does Hilton Head Island have a long relationship with folks there, we at Visit Savannah also do a lot of marketing and promotion in that state.”
For their Savannah service, Allegiant gets two separate markets, he said, noting that, while Hilton Head is a vacation destination, Savannah is attractive as a “long weekend getaway destination.”
“We will work together with the folks at Allegiant to boost our advertising and marketing in those three Ohio markets to help launch the new service,” Marinelli said.
Sylvester Formey, chairman of the Savannah Airport Commission, said attracting Allegiant was a group effort involving the airport’s marketing and air service department, Hilton Head officials, Visit Savannah, the Savannah Chamber, the city of Savannah and the Savannah Economic Development Authority.
“We — and Allegiant — are selling Savannah as the destination,” he said. “We’re the catch nowadays, Savannah and Hilton Head are the popular vacation spots.”
This isn’t Allegiant’s first foray into the Savannah market, but it is its first time showcasing Savannah as a destination city. In November 2010, Allegiant began offering flights twice a week from Savannah to Fort Lauderdale, touting the Florida beach city as a destination.
But Allegiant found more passengers wanting to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Savannah than vice versa.
Less than a year later, the airline announced that lack of market demand was forcing it to end the service.
This time, with Savannah as the destination, Allegiant is confident they have it right.
“We’re really excited to be here,” said Lucas Johnson, Allegiant’s vice president for network and pricing.
“We’ll start May 8 with service from Cincinnati, then add Akron/Canton and Columbus.
“It’s a tremendous, low-fare service that we think will stimulate a lot of tourists and passengers for the city,” he said. “Hopefully, the service will go great this summer and we will be back with more flights, destinations and passengers.”
Owned by publicly traded Allegiant Travel Co. (NASDAQ: ALGT), the airline focuses on low-cost leisure travel, providing customers with low base fares averaging nearly half of the cost of the typical domestic round-trip fare. It’s a business model that has allowed the company to grow from one aircraft and one route just over a decade ago, to serving more than 100 communities nationwide.
ON THE WEB
Flight days and times as well as fares can be found at Allegiant.com.