On Wednesday, October 31st, 2012, Allegiant flight 611, an MD-80 aircraft with about 70 passengers on board, departed for Orlando, beginning a new era of airline service from Harrisburg International Airport (HIA). This new kind of airline, called an Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier or ULCC, offered nonstop flights to “alternative” airports in the Orlando and Tampa Bay regions, and more importantly, offered very low fares.
Looking back, Allegiant came at precisely the right moment for HIA. In 2011, Southwest Airlines purchased AirTran Airways—HIA’s provider of low fare, nonstop daily flights to Orlando, since 2008. During the summer of 2012, Southwest ended AirTran service at Harrisburg and at numerous airports throughout the nation. While Frontier had just begun service from Harrisburg to Denver, and offered limited service to Orlando, they could not fill the void left by AirTran’s departure. So, after six years of meetings and negotiations, Allegiant decided it was finally time to fly from Harrisburg.
At first, Allegiant wasn’t a huge success as it took a while for travelers to adjust to a less than daily flight schedule and to landing at airports in Sanford and St. Petersburg. While everyone loved the low fares, travelers also had to adjust to the process of paying for seats, checked bags, carry-ons, and boarding passes—if printed at the airport. However, by the summer of 2013, Allegiant’s popularity was taking off. So much so, they added more weekly flights. Then they started adding new destinations. Today, Allegiant serves more cities nonstop from HIA than any other airline: Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Punta Gorda/Ft. Myers, Myrtle Beach, Sarasota, Nashville, and Ft. Lauderdale.
Since 2012, Allegiant has flown more than 10,000 flights and served more than 1.4 million passengers to and from HIA. Since they day they started, Allegiant’s average one-way fare has been $60—before taxes and fees—to all destinations served. Over the past ten years, the partnership with Allegiant has been strong and we look forward to working with them to serve more travelers in future years. If you haven’t flown them, give them a chance.
In 2022, Allegiant is forecast to served more than 225,000 HIA passengers—about 19% of our total, ranking third behind American and Delta. You can learn more at allegiant.com.