Travelers living in central Illinois will be able to fly to the tourist mecca of Orlando, Fla. beginning in the spring with the establishment of scheduled service from Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington.
Allegiant Air will begin nonstop jet service to Orlando beginning May 16. The airline currently flies from Peoria International Airport to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Ariz. and Tampa, Fla.
Allegiant Travel Co. president Andrew C. Levy says airline officials are confident the new service will complement existing service in the region.
Central Illinois Regional Airport is also served by American Eagle, Delta and AirTran Airways, but AirTran is scheduled to discontinue service there June 2. CIRA director Carl Olson says the primary goal was to keep the connection with central Florida.
“There are other business destinations that we’re interested in looking at, but you have to go where the customers are. You have to realize an airport is a business -it has to serve its customers. And our customers in central Illinois want to go to central Florida.”
Olson says AirTran’s flights have averaged 90-percent capacity, and he anticipates similiar results with Allegiant.
(AP, Illinois Public Radio)