BANGOR, Maine — While other carriers are reducing service to and from Bangor International Airport, one airline is expanding into what is a proven market for eastern and northern Mainers: sunny Florida.
Allegiant Air announced that it plans to add twice-a-week, nonstop service from BIA to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport beginning Nov. 20. The Las Vegas-based airline first began offering service from BIA to Orlando Sanford International Airport in November 2007.
John Fanyes, director of sales for Allegiant, was in Bangor on Wednesday to make the announcement alongside BIA Director Rebecca Hupp.
“Our service to Orlando has been tremendously successful,” Fanyes said. “We’re certain our flights to St. Petersburg will be just as successful.”
Hupp said the Tampa Bay area is the second-most traveled destination for customers in the Bangor market (behind Orlando), and she was pleased that BIA now is able to offer nonstop service there.
Although the Bangor to St. Petersburg-Clearwater flights will not begin until November, tickets can be purchased now, and passengers who book before Oct. 7 can take advantage of an introductory fare of $89 each way. Once flights begin, the departures will leave on Mondays and Fridays at 6 p.m. from Bangor and will arrive in Tampa Bay at 9:40 p.m. Return flights will depart Florida at 1:55 p.m. and arrive in Bangor by 5:20 p.m. Each plane will offer 150 seats.
“This is an exciting new addition for our airline and our customers as we launch yet another way to get to the fun and sun of Florida and the only nonstop service between Bangor and the Tampa Bay area,” Maurice Gallagher, Allegiant’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
Allegiant’s announcement comes at a good time for BIA, which recently lost service from two airlines. Effective July 31, Continental Airlines stopped its twice-daily service from BIA to Newark, N.J., which represented about 14 percent of the airport’s market share. Additionally, Delta Air Lines told BIA last month that it was halting its shuttle from Bangor to Boston as of Dec. 1, which will eliminate two 50-passenger flights per day.
Allegiant, however, continues to do well, and is one of the main reasons the Bangor airport has seen a passenger increase of 10 percent so far this year over 2008, Hupp said. Allegiant began its Bangor-to-Sanford flights twice a week but now offers that service daily during the peak February-through-May season.