Allegiant Air Opens New Aircraft Base at Lehigh Valley International Airport
By Colin McEvoy on February 14, 2020
Allegiant Air formally opened its new aircraft base in the Lehigh Valley on Wednesday, a move expected to create 66 new high-wage jobs and providing yet another critical link for businesses seeking to come, start, and grow here in the Lehigh Valley.
The Allegiant Travel Company has invested about $50 million in the new two-aircraft base at Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA), which will allow Allegiant Air to add new routes and fly extra flights on its existing routes.
“The convenience and success of the Lehigh Valley International Airport is a critical factor in both the economic and population growth of the Lehigh Valley,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).
“Allegiant Air selecting the Lehigh Valley to expand its operation and to add a large group of maintenance and flight crew employees is another indicator of the Lehigh Valley’s economic growth and the increased activity at the Lehigh Valley International Airport,” Cunningham said.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday for the new base, which houses two Airbus aircraft, which is Allegiant’s 18th aircraft base. The company is dedicated to linking travelers in small-to-medium cities to world-class leisure destinations.
“Lehigh Valley is a perfect location for a permanent base, which will further establish Allegiant as a hometown airline in eastern Pennsylvania,” Keith Hansen, Vice President of Government Affairs for Allegiant, previously said.
Allegiant has also brought four new destinations to LVIA: Chicago, Nashville, Savannah/Hilton Head, and Sarasota, according to the airport. American Airlines also added flights to Chicago at the airport in 2019.
“This is direct investment in our community that’s making our connection with other areas stronger,” Pennsylvania Senator Pat Browne said of the Allegiant base during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
LVEDC engaged Allegiant early in the process as they were considering the Lehigh Valley, providing them with labor data and economic information about the region and coordinating with regional partners like the Pennsylvania Governor’s Action Team, Browne’s office, and the Workforce Board Lehigh Valley.
Additionally, LVEDC Vice President of Business Attraction, Retention and Expansion Matthew Tuerk serves as acting chair of the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority.
New jobs created by the Allegiant base include pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and ground personnel to support the operations. The majority of new positions are expected to offer salaries that are more than double the state of Pennsylvania’s average wage, according to the company.
“Over 60 flight crew members, aircraft mechanics, you name it, all Allegient employees who are actually going to be living in our neighborhoods,” Tom Stoudt, LNAA Executive Director, told WFMZ.
LVIA is coming off of 27 straight months of positive passenger growth dating back to October 2017, and a total of 911,970 passengers traveled through the airport in 2019, a 15.01% increase from the previous year and the highest single-year total since 2004. Stoudt has said the airport could reach 1 million passengers this year, which would be the first time in 16 years.
LVIA plays a pivotal role and impact on regional economic development in Lehigh Valley, and transportation resources are an important resource for site selectors and businesses considering where to locate a building or expansion.
Having a regionally-based airport like LVIA is also helpful for foreign direct investment in the Lehigh Valley. When companies based overseas are seeking places in the United States for investment, it is critically important that they have quick access to their facilities via airports.
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