ST. CLOUD - Last year was a good year for the Allegiant Airlines flights at the St. Cloud Regional Airport.

In fact, we had a record year for Allegiant.  So Allegiant put the most passengers through the St. Cloud Airport than they've done since they began in December of 2012.  Phoenix-Mesa is as popular as ever. Those airplanes are consistently near full or full.

Airport Director Bill Towle says the combined load factor for all Allegiant flights is over 90 percent.

In early 2017, Allegiant offered four weekly flights to-and-from Mesa, Arizona. Right now they have two weekly flights between St. Cloud and Mesa, and two weekly flights two-and-from Punta Gorda Airport in Florida. Towle says because Allegiant is limited on their number of airplanes and pilots it is hard for them to add flights and destinations without taking another one away.

Meanwhile, with just a few weeks to go before Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis, Towle is getting ready for a busy run.

Right now we're expecting about 40 or 50 aircraft to come and park at St. Cloud.  I think we're going to get a lot more than that, that might be stop and goes or drop and goes.

He says, once they land here in St. Cloud, the executives will get a car and head down to Minneapolis while their pilots will spend some time here.

It's going to be a rental car or limousine picking them up. And then the pilots are going to stay in town and they'll get a rental car.  It's actually going to be a great economic impact for St. Cloud.  Every airplane has two pilots, they'll each get a room, they might share a car, they'll be in town for two or three days.

Towle says we'll know more specifics as to how many planes will land here about a week before the February 4th game.

Besides traffic from the Super Bowl, Towle says, in general, there's a space crunch at St. Cloud Regional Airport.

We are really full. We need more large aircraft hangars.  And, we need some space for those that own their own airplane to come in and have the ability to build their own hangar on leased property from the airport.

Towle says about 75 airplanes are based out of St. Cloud right now. He says it is important for the city and airport to dedicate more space to new hangars so more planes can be housed out there, and for the airport to grow overall.