ST. CLOUD -- It has been about a month now since Allegiant Airlines has offered direct flights between St. Cloud and Destin, Florida.

St. Cloud Regional Airport Director Bill Towle says so far those flights are going okay.

As I talk to Allegiant they are certainly saying that we are meeting their expectation.  It's going fine the load factor is in the 45 percent range.  So, on a 180 seat airplane 80-90 seats are being filled.

Towle says it was a last-minute announcement in the spring so that may have impacted the lower passenger numbers. He says Allegiant always intended it to be about a seven-week service and likely won't extend the flights into the fall. He says it's too soon to tell if the flights to Destin will be coming back next summer.

There are two direct flights each week with the last flight scheduled for Sunday, August 15th. Several flights start as low as $55 each way.

Allegiant Airlines announced Tuesday that they'll start flying out of Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport this October with three direct routes. One of those direct flights is to Punta Gorda, Florida the same destination they have from the St. Cloud Regional Airport.

Towle says it was a surprise to him.

That also caught me off guard, in fact, it caught Minneapolis off guard.  They had talked to Allegiant two weeks ago and Allegiant had said they were looking at possibly coming to Minneapolis and then they made the announcement.

Towle says he believes it is a strategy for Allegiant to compete against other airlines in Minneapolis and he says it doesn't look to affect the service here in St. Cloud.

The direct flights between MSP and Punta Gorda start in October.

St. Cloud's flights to Punta Gorda are scheduled to start up again on December 15th and are scheduled to run until February 13th as of right on Allegiant's website. The flights are twice weekly.

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