BRADENTON (FOX 13) - Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport isn't exactly the busiest around. Airport President and CEO Rick Piccolo said air traffic here is about to take off.
"The growth levels were at the 1-percent range while a lot of the other airports were growing at a much bigger clip around us," said Piccolo. "We really think Allegiant has been the springboard."
Allegiant is adding non-stop flights to and from nine different cities across the East Coast and Midwest.
The flights start in February and will run twice a week.
More flights may come later.
"We think that this is just the beginning we think there will be more as we go along because the community is reacting to it very well," said Piccolo.
Allegiant started here in April with three routes and they said since that time they've seen 50,000 people come through the airport. With the addition of these 9 routes they're expecting an additional 160,000 plus passengers.
"We know we have a set of customers who aren't just going to Tampa or St.Pete or they're not going to Ft.Myers/ Naples necessarily but they are coming here to Sarasota and we wanted to serve them as conveniently and affordably as possible," said Drew Wells the V.P of marketing and revenue for Allegiant.
A year ago there were six airlines and 10 non-stop destinations. Since Allegiant moved in that's grown to 8 airlines and 26 non-stop destinations.
"Our hope is long term growth I think we are both satisfied with how we started with the three routes and I don’t think we are stopping here," said Wells.
The expansion has caught the attention of everyone, more importantly, passengers like Mario Strong.
"I'll have more opportunities to come here. More options for everybody," he said.
And more affordable. Allegiant said it will offer no-frills ticket prices, starting as low as $45 to $65 each way.
The new routes include:
- Asheville, North Carolina via Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) – beginning February 22, 2019, with fares as low as $45.*
- Baltimore via Baltimore / Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) – beginning Feb. 22, 2019, with fares as low as $65.*
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania via Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) – beginning April 3, 2019, with fares as low as $65.*
- Syracuse, New York via Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) – beginning April 3, 2019, with fares as low as $65.*
- Cleveland via Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) – beginning April 4, 2019, with fares as low as $55.*
- Columbus, Ohio via Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK) – beginning April 4, 2019, with fares as low as $55.*
- Richmond, Virginia via Richmond International Airport (RIC) – beginning April 4, 2019, with fares as low as $65.*
- Grand Rapids, Michigan via Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) – beginning April 5, 2019, with fares as low as $55.*
- Nashville, Tennessee via Nashville International Airport (BNA) – beginning April 5, 2019, with fares as low as $55.*