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(Austin-Bergstrom International Airport)

Mookie Patel, chief of business and finance for the Austin-Bergstrom International Airports, speaks about the Allegiant announcement at a press conference on Tuesday.

Economy airline Allegiant announced Tuesday that it will establish a new $75 million base at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport's South Terminal, creating 89 jobs and housing three airplanes. It is scheduled to open in mid-November.

"It makes perfect sense to establish a permanent base in Austin, further establishing Allegiant as a hometown airline in a city we love and where we plan to grow," Senior Vice President of Revenue Drew Wells said in a statement. He added that the new base will allow for expanded hours and more flight options.

Unlike other airlines, Las Vegas-based Allegiant offers exclusively non-stop flights, meaning each day's schedule starts and ends at a base rather than connecting through hub airports. The forthcoming Austin base will bring added flexibility for flight times as well as allow locally-based crew members to return home each night.

Austin City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes, who represents District 2, where the airport is located, welcomed the news as a needed boost at this stage of the pandemic, which has devastated the tourism industry. "The airport is an economic driver in our local economy, and I'm excited to see growth and activity in the district and beyond during such a critical time," she said in a statement.

Mookie Patel, chief of business and finance for the airport, echoed this sentiment. "Allegiant establishing Austin as a base provides strong economic support to Central Texas and even more convenient and affordable ways to travel," he said in a statement.

Allegiant began operating at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in 2013 with service from Austin to Las Vegas. Since then, the airline has expanded its offering to 14 nonstop routes, including to Orlando-Sanford, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; Asheville, North Carolina; and Bozeman, Montana.

Allegiant is not the only airline expanding its local presence. American Airlines announced last month that it is adding 10 new flights to Austin. This growth is welcome news amid the economic impacts of the pandemic. Overall passenger activity at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport was down nearly two-thirds year-over-year, according to the latest activity report.



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