Airport uses incentives to lure new service

In early September Allegiant Air announced the addition of nonstop service between Memphis International Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport that begins Dec. 17.

The addition increased Allegiant’s markets serviced out of Memphis to six. It also checked off one of the cities near the top of a desired markets list Memphis International Airport uses as part of its new incentive policy.

The Community Air Service Development Incentive Policy went into effect May 1 as a way to maximize available commercial air service opportunities at Memphis International Airport.

The incentives are available to airlines based on the following priority: a destination on the targeted list, new service to a destination that ranks in the airport’s top 30 destinations and isn’t currently served, new service to an international destination, new service to a destination with a distance greater than 800 miles, and all other new service.

San Francisco tops the targeted destinations list followed by Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix/Mesa, Seattle, San Diego, Portland, Jacksonville, Santa Anna/Orange County and Sacramento.

The destinations on the list are the top unserved origination and destination markets for Memphis International. The list is more a guideline.

“There is some method to the madness,” said Will Livsey, Senior Manager of Air Service Research & Development for the airport. “It’s not like we blindfolded (Memphis International President and CEO) Scott Brockman and he throws a dart at a wall.”

The Allegiant flight to Phoenix gets Memphis passengers to that market with nonstop service, and in turn helps Allegiant widen its footprint in Memphis.

“It’s to help them dip their toes in the water rather than diving head first,” Livsey said. “We are starting to see our numbers pick up in terms of local O&D and we owe a lot of that to Allegiant, which is allowing Mid-South folks who have never flown before to take a vacation. In the past it was cost prohibitive. They’re a catalyst to opening up travel to everybody in the community.”

Read more articles by Lance Wiedower.

Lance is a veteran journalist with more than 16 years of experience in newsrooms in the Memphis area as a reporter and editor, including most recently as managing editor of The Daily News. He regularly contributes to The Daily News, including a biweekly travel column, The Daily Traveler. 
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