Mickey Mouse just got a lot closer to Owensboro.
Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air LLC announced plans Tuesday to begin non-stop jet service from Owensboro to Orlando on Feb. 18.
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The airline will offer an introductory fare of $69 each way, John Fenyes, director of sales, told a morning news conference in the lobby of Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.
Tickets can be purchased at that price until Dec. 3, he said. They must be used by April 30. After that, Fenyes said, prices will rise to $89 each way.
Andrew Ward, a member of the airport board, said the arrival of Allegiant's 150-seat jets in February will mark the first commercial jet service to the airport.
"It's a momentous occasion," said airport director George Smith.
Fenyes said the Owensboro-to-Orlando service will feature flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Flights will leave Owensboro at 9:20 a.m. on each of those days and arrive at Orlando Sanford International Airport at 12:20 p.m. Eastern time.
Flights leaving Orlando will depart at 7:35 a.m. Eastern time and arrive in Owensboro at 8:40 a.m., Fenyes said.
The flights take two hours.
"Even the drive to the Evansville airport is an hour," Fenyes said. "We'll have people in Orlando in two."
The fact that the Owensboro airport has an 8,000-foot runway and little air traffic helped Allegiant choose Owensboro over other cities in the region.
Fenyes said 1.3 million people live within 75 miles of Owensboro — the area that Allegiant will be targeting with its advertising.
"It's wonderful to finally have an airline," said Karen Miller, executive director of the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau. "We hope people will come in and spend the night before their flights."
Owensboro has had commercial air service for only six weeks since March 2007 — and the last flight left town on Jan. 7.
Great Lakes Airlines has the contract to serve Owensboro with connector flights to a major hub, probably St. Louis, but airline officials have yet to say when service will begin.
Smith said Allegiant's service will mean more state and federal dollars for the airport.
Planes that carry more than 50 passengers "open avenues for more state and federal dollars for discretionary spending and airport improvements," he said.