Bound for Vegas
Allegiant Air service takes off
By JAMES C. FALCON Staff Writer jfalcon
POSTED: October 23, 2010
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James C. Falcon/MDN —
The Allegiant Air flight bound for Las Vegas departs from the Minot International Airport amid a water arch on Friday. The inaugural flight marked the first flight from Allegiant Air.
Minot residents looking for a little glitz, warmth and some gambling this winter can now look no further than the Minot International Airport.
On Friday, the inaugural flight from Minot bound for Las Vegas took off from the airport.
Allegiant Air and the Minot International Airport had announced in August that the airline would begin to offer two flights weekly from Minot to Las Vegas.
“It is a great day for Minot,” Mayor Curt Zimbleman said at a news conference held prior to the flight’s departure. The city has been looking forward to the Las Vegas flight, he said, “and now it’s here.”
“We’ve been looking for this flight for a long time,” Zimbelman added.
Sabrina LoPiccolo, manager of public relations and promotions for Allegiant Air, announced that the first flight was full the MD-80 jet can accommodate 150 passengers for its trip from Minot. Tickets sold out quickly for that flight and ticket sales for future flights are also doing well, she added.
The flight ascended at 3:55 p.m., 25 minutes later than the departure time.
Andy Solsvig, airport director, noted that the jet needed to load more fuel than expected.
“It is what it is,” he explained. “They can only pump fuel so fast.”
The flights will be offered on Monday and Friday, departing from Minot at 12:10 p.m. and arriving in Las Vegas at 1 p.m., local time. Return flights to Minot will depart from Las Vegas at 6:50 a.m. and arriving in Minot at 11:30 a.m., local time.
Community support, as well as business factors, will determine whether or not more Minot-to-Las Vegas flights will be forthcoming, LoPiccolo said, adding that the service is reliant on the people.
While the demand for flights to Las Vegas have been good in Minot, LoPiccolo said the number of inquiries from Las Vegas residents seeking tickets for Minot is “definitely not as strongly as the reverse.” However, word of mouth has spread in Las Vegas, a place where Allegiant doesn’t advertise as heavily, she added.
LoPiccolo said Allegiant will make sure there is adequate response from the community before it explores adding more destinations from Minot. Allegiant also offers flights to Las Vegas from the airports in Bismarck, Grand Forks and Fargo, she added.
“Once we feel the market (in Minot) can support additional service, we’ll look at it,” LoPiccolo said.
The Minot airport currently accommodates three airlines, including Allegiant. Delta Air Lines offers direct flights to Minneapolis, while United Airlines offers flights to Denver. Delta had, in the past, offered flights to Salt Lake City, but that was discontinued as of Oct. 4.
The addition of future flights to more destinations was mentioned during the conference on Friday. Zimbleman and LoPiccolo both mentioned Phoenix as a potential port of call. LoPiccolo noted, perhaps without the pun intended, that “Phoenix is in the air.”
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