CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - Improvements have been underway at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE), but even more could be on the way.
Pinellas County Commissioners signed off Tuesday on an extension of the airport’s contract with Allegiant Airlines, through 2024, which will bring an estimated $14.2 million in revenue to PIE.
In 2006 Allegiant operated 12 non-stop flights and, by 2018, the airline served 55 nonstop destinations and 668,000 thousand passengers. With more 25 more years ahead, airline's partnership with the airport could mean big business for the Bay Area.
“There are so many people that are coming into town,” said Tony Loeffler who owns a small business on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.
Potential passengers of Allegiant are also Loeffler's customers and family. His mother-in-law wouldn’t be able to travel if it weren’t for the inexpensive, nonstop flights.
“It’s an economical way for her to come down and visit us,” Loeffler said.
The county also approved nearly $20 million in funds from the Federal Aviation Administration to update the airport's runway.
“We are going to resurface,” Airport Director Thomas Jewsbury told FOX 13. “Also redo all the lighting and the shoulder and the safety ways that are associated with it.”
The expanded runways and taxiways will allow more room for larger aircraft, like Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s.
Timelines for the resurfacing project were not yet determined.