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Blue Grass Airport adds low-fare Florida service

A new airline is coming to town.

Allegiant Air, a low-fare carrier, will be offering non-stop jet service from Lexington to two locations in Florida, beginning in early November.

"This is a perfect market for us," John Fenyes, an Allegiant Air spokesman, said at a news conference Tuesday at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport.

On Nov. 6, Las Vegas-based Allegiant will start service between the Lexington airport and Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida. Service between Blue Grass Airport and St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport, serving the Tampa Bay area, will start Nov. 7. Each of the flights will operate two days a week.

Allegiant is offering an introductory fare for both flights of $69 each way. But that fare is not available for flights Nov. 26 to Dec. 1, Dec. 20 to 31 and Jan. 1 to 5. Introductory fare tickets must be purchased by Oct. 8. The introductory fare is good through Feb. 5, when the cost will go up to $89 each way, Fenyes said.

"In today's environment, this is unheard of," he said of the fares.

"We're also known for our tour packages," he said, adding that a four-day, three-night travel package, including hotel and airfare, can be obtained from his company for as little as $201 a person.

"We're actually a travel company that owns an airline," he said. "We serve major leisure destinations."

Blue Grass Airport executive director Mike Gobb referred to the news conference as a "major, major announcement."

"I thank you for bringing the Florida sunshine to Central Kentucky," Gobb told Fenyes.

"We compete with every airport across the country for this precious, limited resource," Gobb said of airline service. As the air travel industry contracts, he said, other airports are losing airline service.

"They're a very high quality, low-fare carrier," he said, adding that Allegiant will be filling a niche.

"We look forward to a long-standing relationship," Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry said. "Allegiant seems to be wonderfully suited to this airport."

The new service will give Blue Grass Airport an average 41/2 percent increase in passenger seats, airport spokesman Brian Ellestad said.

The addition of Allegiant will bring the total number of airlines serving Blue Grass Airport to seven, airport spokeswoman Amy Caudill said.

"It's more airlines than we've ever had in our history."

The Allegiant flight to Orlando will operate on Thursdays and Sundays, with flights departing Blue Grass Airport at 7:30 p.m. and arriving at Orlando Sanford International Airport at 9:25 p.m. Flights leaving Orlando will depart at 4:50 p.m. and arrive in Lexington at 6:50 p.m.

The Tampa Bay flights will operate Mondays and Fridays. Flights will depart Lexington at 7:30 p.m. and arrive at St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport at 9:30 p.m. Flights will depart from St. Petersburg/Clearwater at 4:45 p.m. and arrive in Lexington at 6:50 p.m.

The Allegiant fare prices do not include certain taxes and fees. The airline also charges checked baggage fees ranging from $15 to $25 a bag for up to two bags. Higher fees are charged for three or more bags.