Two additional flights per week are leaving the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport headed to Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Allegiant Air began offering the additional flights June 21 and will continue through Aug. 9. There will be flights leaving the airport Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday. After that, there will be two flights a week, Sunday and Thursday, through Sept. 16.
The expansion was possible because people were filling the flights, and Allegiant was able to make a profit, said Dan Dickten, director of aviation.
“Because the Pittsburgh and Akron-Canton airports do not offer regularly scheduled flights to Myrtle Beach, we are attracting passengers from more than 100 miles away,” Dickten said. “That’s great for our airport, our area, Allegiant, and for the passengers who are experiencing all the advantages we offer the traveling public, including ease of access, reasonable fares, affordable parking, and short TSA [Transportation Security Administration] security lines.”
Allegiant sold 92 percent of the seats available on the first flight offered under the expanded schedule and sold every seat on one of this week’s four flights, he said.
The airport is working with Allegiant to expand offerings to a new location in southwest Florida, Dickten said. This new flight would not be seasonal, such as those to Myrtle Beach.
In addition, the airport is working with multiple airlines in an attempt to add daily flights to a regional hub such as Chicago, Detroit or Washington, D.C. These flights would allow people to take transfer flights to locations all over the country, he said. This effort has been spurred by interest from the public and requests from the oil and gas industry.
“BP has told us they would like to use the airport for its transportation. They have said once they are fully engaged, they would fly about 50 round trips per month,” Dickten said. “What we need is the rest of the oil and gas companies to let us know what their usage would be.”
The number of flights these companies could confirm would encourage airlines to use the regional airport, he said.
The airport has applied for a U.S. Department of Transportation grant for $780,000. The grant request, if approved, would require a local contribution of $420,000. The grant money provides cost insurance for an airline that starts providing service at the regional airport in the event the flights are not immediately profitable. Allegiant was not available to comment.
More information is available about the times of the flights, and seats may be reserved online at www.allegiantair.com.