Allegiant Air is back.
Due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, the airline planned to suspend flights out of the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport through Sept. 30. That decision came as the airline made arrangements to reduce its capacity upward of 90% in April and May in response to the ongoing effects of the pandemic on the aviation industry.
Allegiant began offering flights again on Friday to Florida’s Orlando/Sanford International Airport and those will continue on Fridays and Mondays. The airline’s return is a positive step toward normalcy, said airport Director Rob Barnett.
“Their load factor is improving and in regard to future bookings, they are slowly improving,” he said. “We are back to somewhat of a normal schedule with Allegiant and we are pleased to have them back in service. Opening up the beaches in Florida was important for that particular route, we saw an improvement for sure. Our phones are ringing again with Allegiant questions and that is a good thing. We are excited to return to some kind of normalcy in getting them back into service.”
As far as what the future will look like in terms of the airline’s annual hiatus to perform maintenance and pilot training or additional flights, the company, like the airport, is taking things a day at a time, Barnett said.
“We did have a discussion regarding a future hiatus, but there is no certainty on what that schedule will be,” he said. “It is dependent on the passenger loads and how quickly people are comfortable going away for vacation. It is based on our community and those destination communities as well and what restrictions may be in other states.”
While the airport is returning to normalcy and looking forward to hopefully adding more routes, for now, everyone is just happy to be back on track, Barnett said.
“We are always looking for an improved schedule from every airline that operates here, and more destinations,” he said. “At this point, it is premature for them to look at future route openings, and the focus is on normalcy and supporting the passenger culture, and their feeling of safety. We would encourage anyone interested in booking an Allegiant flight to go to the airline’s website first, where they can find the flight schedule out of Owensboro along with Allegiant’s recommendations and cautionary measures.
“Given the past couple of months, we are excited to see them return to Owensboro,” Barnett said. “It is definitely a positive step in putting the virus behind us.”
Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, firstname.lastname@example.org