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Air Service Returning to St. Cloud [AUDIO]

Allegiant's Eric Fletcher, Bill Towle and Dave Kleis look on (WJON's Jim Maurice)

ST. CLOUD – A representative for Allegiant Airlines was at the St. Cloud Regional Airport this (Thursday) afternoon.

Eric Fletcher is the Manager of Airport Planning.  He says the company is excited about the soon-to-launch regular service between the St. Cloud Regional Airport at the Phoenix/Mesa Gateway Airport.

Fletcher says the first flight will be on December 15th, with flights two days a week after that.  Their introductory price is $89.99 a ticket one-way, including taxes and fees.

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Fletcher says the company would like to add more flights to the Phoenix/Mesa Gateway Airport, as well as expand their service to other destinations.  But, he says it’s ultimately up to the people of central Minnesota and how often they use the service.

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Fletcher says there’s no guarantee for how long the airline will stay in St. Cloud.  He says they’ll be flying jets that have a capacity of 166 seats.

The company also offers complete vacation packages in the Mesa area, including hotels and entertainment options.  He says they’re working to put together reverse packages for the people of Mesa to come-up to St. Cloud for vacation.

While local officials are excited to bring Allegiant Airlines to the St. Cloud Regional Airport, they stress their work is not done.  St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis says they’re hopeful they can make an announcement of regular flights to Chicago O’Hare Airport soon.

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Kleis says they’ve secured over $6.1 million in pledges from the business community for any potential flights to Chicago.

Kleis says the top four destinations for people from central Minnesota are: Chicago, Arizona, New York, and Washington, D.C.

The St. Cloud Regional Airport has been without regular air service since Delta pulled out in December of 2009.  The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation has been working to bring another carrier to town since before Delta made their decision.

Airport Director Bill Towle says, because they haven’t had regular air service in a while, there are some things that will need to be done.  He says an environmental assessment is underway, and officials with the TSA will also be brought back in.  Towle says that will allow for another airline to ramp up flights more quickly.

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Towle says they’re prepared and ready to bring in a second airline as soon as possible for flights to other destinations.

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