Destination is the third of five direct flights the Las Vegas-based airline has planned for the River City, all of which will be in place by mid-December.
Need a ride to Superbowl XLII?
While it may be tough getting a ticket to watch the National Football League’s championship game, getting a ticket for the flight there just got easier.
Allegiant Air unveils its inaugural direct air-passenger service to Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz., today with flights leaving Peoria twice weekly.
The western route is the third of five direct flights the Las Vegas-based airline has planned for the River City, all of which will be in place by mid-December.
The addition of the Phoenix-Mesa flights brings to nine the number of direct destinations from Greater Peoria Regional Airport. With two additional direct flights yet to be added to the schedule this year, Peoria will have double the destinations that were available a year ago.
"Certainly, the big message is, ‘We’re growing,’ but as we grow — and we’ll continue to grow — this is the time for people to pledge their support to use the services we have," airport Director Ken Spirito said Friday. "It’s very important we use the service or we will lose it."
The airport has recorded 11 percent more passengers this year versus the same time last year — up 7 percent compared to last month — and is continuing its trend to outpace the 2005 record of 520,000 travelers. Spirito said the airport could see 535,000 to 545,000 air passengers by year’s end. Last year saw 483,575 air travelers.
Allegiant will operate 150-passenger MD80 jets to Phoenix-Mesa, similar to its other flights.
Flights depart the Peoria airport at 12:20 p.m., Wednesdays and Saturdays, arriving about three hours later at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Return flights arrive in Peoria at 11:45 a.m.
"There’s an affinity with the Midwest and Phoenix," Spirito said.
While many people fly south to Arizona to escape winter’s chill for weeks or months at a time, it’s also a haven for sports aficionados.
Mesa hosts the Chicago Cubs and the Peoria Chiefs for spring training. Glendale, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb and home to the Arizona Cardinals, will play host on Feb. 3 for the NFL’s Superbowl XLII.
Dave Haney can be reached at (309) 686-3181 or email@example.com.