State and local officials joined executives from Allegiant Travel Company (ALGT) today as the company announced plans to establish a two-aircraft base at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Georgia. Allegiant's growth plans in the state include creating at least 66 new, high-wage jobs.
The Las Vegas-based company is investing $50 million to establish its new base of operations, which will house two Airbus aircraft. The company, which focuses on linking travelers in small-to-medium cities to world-class leisure destinations, plans to begin its base operations at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport on June 6, 2019.
Known for its rich history, Antebellum architecture, picturesque city squares and renowned culinary scene, Savannah has experienced an urban revival in recent years, and is increasingly known as an epicenter for art and music festivals. Home to a wide variety of recreation opportunities from haunted history tours to golf and beaches, the Savannah and Hilton Head Island areas are a favorite for visitors of all ages.
Hilton Head Island is a classic American resort destination recognized as the #1 Island in the U.S. by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure in their coveted reader's choice awards. Its burgeoning culinary scene, lush tropical setting and notable arts and cultural offerings have made the island a favorite for travelers in search of a beach destination with a laid back luxe vibe.
"We are excited that Allegiant will grow its presence in Georgia by establishing a base in Savannah," said Governor Brian Kemp. "Our logistics infrastructure is one of Georgia's greatest assets, and we are excited that Allegiant will not only create 66 jobs in Savannah, but will offer more travel options for travelers who want to visit or do business in the Peach State."
"Savannah has been an outstanding city for Allegiant, and we've continued to grow our presence to accommodate the ever-increasing demand by leisure travelers for everything this special region has to offer," said Keith Hansen, vice president of government affairs for Allegiant. "It's a perfect location for a permanent base, where having locally-based aircraft and crews will mean a whole world of expanded options for new service and more expansive hours. The result will be even more convenient and affordable travel for visitors and residents, and will further establish Allegiant as a hometown airline for the Savannah/Hilton Head area."
"From a tourism perspective, Allegiant has had an incredibly positive impact on our visitation numbers over the last five years," said Joe Marinelli, president, Visit Savannah. "By opening up 15 new markets, we are attracting leisure visitors, business travelers and convention attendees from places that were not easily or affordably available to us in the past. And because of Allegiant's aggressive marketing efforts, the awareness of Savannah as a place to visit is greater than ever before in those cities. This next step, with the creation of a new base at SAV, shows the continued commitment and dedication that Allegiant is making to our community – and we thank them for that."
Allegiant began operating at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in 2015 and with today's announcement now offers 15 non-stop routes – to Albany, Niagara Falls and Newark in the New York region; Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; Pittsburgh and Allentown, Pennsylvania; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Providence, Rhode Island and Baltimore, Maryland.
Allegiant currently carries more than 240,000 annual passengers through Savannah.
"In 2015, Allegiant Air made a commitment to Savannah with establishing flights to Cincinnati, Akron and Columbus Ohio and now more than 6,500 passengers fly in and out of Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport with up to 44 flights a week and more than 15 destinations," said Trip Tollison, Savannah Economic Development Authority CEO and president. "Today's announcement of establishing a base in Savannah is the next step in the growing relationship between Allegiant Air and the Savannah region. We applauded and congratulate Allegiant Air for continuing to invest in Savannah."
"Allegiant's move to a year-round presence at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport speaks volumes about their confidence in the marketplace and the ever-growing appeal of both Hilton Head Island and Savannah with travelers," said Bill Miles, president and CEO, Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. "It's not just about visitors, it's also about new jobs and more travel options for our residents. That's good news for our vibrant economy and a testament to the power of tourism in the Lowcountry."
Savannah will become the airline's 17th aircraft base, which will allow Allegiant to expand its service to and from the city, offer more new non-stop routes in the future, and further connect Savannah visitors, residents and businesses to destinations around the world.
"We greatly appreciate Allegiant's decision to establish a year-round base here at our airport. This represents a significant vote of confidence that travelers throughout their network will want to visit Savannah, Hilton Head, the Lowcountry and the Golden Isle Region," said Stephen S. Green, chairman, Savannah Airport Commission.
"We realize that this is a significant investment on Allegiant's part, and we will work hard to ensure that they will be successful," he continued. "We appreciate the valuable state and regional partnerships that we have established to help achieve our service successes such as this."
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 decision to establish a year-round base and add more routes here at Savannah/Hilton Head International says a lot about our region as a destination and about our strong partnership with the Allegiant team. We greatly appreciate their investment here," said Gregory B. Kelly, executive director, Savannah Airport Commission. "Our partners at the state, Hilton Head Chamber, SEDA, Visit Savannah and the Savannah Chamber were instrumental in making this possible."