State and local officials joined executives from Allegiant Travel Company (ALGT) today as the company announced plans to establish a two-aircraft base at Des Moines International Airport (DSM). The announcement heralds the leisure airline's 20th base of operations, a $50 million investment which will locate two Airbus A320 aircraft in Des Moines, bringing at least 66 new, high-wage jobs to the community. The Las Vegas-based carrier will begin base operations at DSM on May 14, 2020.
"For Allegiant to select Des Moines International Airport as a base of operations is a historic day for Des Moines, our airport and the two-and-a-half million passengers who fly through our City each year," said Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie. "The financial investment and well-paying jobs this brings to our community is significant and most appreciated. And to those flight crews and ground personnel who will be our new neighbors, we say thank you for flying Allegiant and welcome to Des Moines."
Iowa's capital city and the Greater Des Moines region are the core of one of the fastest growing areas in the Midwest. Home to more than 791,000 residents, the region is known for iconic festivals and events, sports and outdoor recreation opportunities, as well as a burgeoning business environment. In recent years, Des Moines has been named among the nation's top places to live (US News & World Report, 2018) and top locations for business and careers. (Forbes, 2017)
"In many ways, today's announcement is the culmination of a more than 15-year relationship between Allegiant and Des Moines International Airport, where we've steadily grown our operation to meet increasing demand," said Keith Hansen, Allegiant's vice president of government affairs. "Having locally-based aircraft and crews will open up a wide range of options for new service and more flights throughout the day. We're excited to bring more opportunities for affordable, convenient travel, and expand Allegiant's presence as a hometown airline for Hawkeye state residents."
Allegiant began service at DSM in 2003 and currently offers eight non-stop routes – to Orlando-Sanford, St. Pete-Clearwater, Punta Gorda, Destin-Fort Walton Beach and Sarasota, Florida; Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona; Los Angeles, California; and Las Vegas, Nevada. Allegiant in 2018 carried more than 232,000 annual passengers through Des Moines, and is on track to eclipse that number in 2019.
"The Des Moines International Airport continues to play a critical role in the economic vitality of the region with this announcement," said Kevin Foley, Des Moines Airport Authority Executive Director. "Iowans continue to prove travel is important to them and DSM is committed to growing air service in our market. Through this partnership with Allegiant, not only will we be adding jobs in our community, we will be opening the door for new destinations and adventures."
Allegiant, which employs more than 4,300 team members across the U.S., plans to immediately begin hiring pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and ground personnel to support the operations. The majority of the new positions are expected to offer salaries that are more than double the state's average wage. Interested applicants may apply online.
"Allegiant's investment in Greater Des Moines will significantly contribute to the vibrancy of our rapidly growing regional economy," said Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. "The continued advancement of the Des Moines International Airport is one of our strategic priorities, and this expansion project will position DSM for multiple new destinations."