Representatives from Allegiant Air will return to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport on Tuesday to announce additional air service, airport officials announced Thursday.
Allegiant announced twice-weekly nonstop service to Cincinnati and St. Louis in January after Okaloosa County commissioners pledged $3 million in local bed tax funds to market the airline. Airport officials said Thursday that Allegiant has added a third weekly flight to each city in response to the volume of advance bookings, and the availability of the flights has been extended through mid-October instead of August, as originally announced.
“We will continue to build on our partnership with Allegiant and are excited to see the community response and expect that to grow with these new added cities,” said Okaloosa County Airports Director Tracy Stage.
Allegiant’s announcement next week of additional service comes amid a string of problems for the Las Vegas-based low-cost airline.
In December, four Allegiant flights departing Orlando’s Sanford International Airport were forced to make emergency landings due to various mechanical issues, prompting the airline to run a full-page ad in the Orlando Sentinel last month. “There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our passengers, crew, family and friends,” the airline said.
In January, an electrical odor forced an Allegiant flight traveling from Mesa, Ariz. to Bellingham, Wash. was forced to divert to Elko, Nev., and another Allegiant flight in February headed from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Omaha diverted to Birmingham, Ala. after the crew reported smoke in the cockpit. On Wednesday, an Allegiant flight from Orlando-Sanford to Indianapolis made an emergency landing in Jacksonville, Fla. after experiencing pressurization problems. Since the beginning of 2015, Alliegiant flights have reported at least 20 separate incidents involving emergency landings, mechanical problems, and aborted takeoffs. Allegiant pilots, currently embroiled in a contract dispute with management, have alleged that the airline places profits ahead of passenger safety.