Low-cost carrier Allegiant Air will launch nonstop flights from Tucson International Airport to Bellingham, Washington, and Provo, Utah, in November, officials said Tuesday.

The twice-weekly, year-round flights start Nov. 15 to Bellingham and Nov. 16 to Provo.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant is offering introductory one-way fares of $69 to Bellingham and $49 to Provo, for tickets purchased by Wednesday, Aug. 22, for travel by Feb. 28. Flights can be booked at allegiantair.com.

Regular one-way fares start at $140 to Bellingham — seen as a gateway to Vancouver, British Columbia — and at about $92 to Provo.

Known as an “ultra low-cost carrier,” Allegiant charges extra for things like seating choice, food, and carry-on and checked baggage.

The new Tucson flights will be flown on Airbus A319 and A320 narrow-body jets, seating up to about 160 and 190 passengers, respectively.

Allegiant is the second low-cost airline to announce its arrival at the Tucson airport recently. Denver-based Frontier Airlines announced earlier this month that it would launch nonstop service from TIA to Denver International Airport starting in November.

The regular base fare for Frontier’s Tucson-Denver flights is $49, though seating choices, baggage and other options cost extra.

New flights and destinations are good news for TIA, which like other smaller airports is still trying to recover routes and seating capacity lost in the wake of the Great Recession.

With the addition of the Allegiant and Frontier flights, TIA will offer nonstop service to 22 destinations.

Allegiant, which has been flying from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa since 2007, has long been interested in adding Tucson based on passenger data from the Mesa route, said Kristen Schilling-Gonzales, Allegiant’s managing director of planning.

“We’ve seen that a lot of our passengers are actually checking in from closer to Tucson, and we decided it would be a natural option to expand a little further south, and try that out,” she said, noting that Allegiant has been in discussions with the Tucson Airport Authority and Visit Tucson for several years.

The new Allegiant flights will start as winter demand builds in November, but the airline intends to fly them year-round and could expand them if demand is strong, Schilling-Gonzales said.

“We do expect that they’ll do quite well at twice a week, but we’re always evaluating and as traffic patterns demand, we may increase the frequency, and hopefully we’ll be able to announce new routes in the future as well,” she said, noting that Tucson is seen mainly as an inbound tourist destination.

Allegiant currently has about 80 planes and flies to 121 cities, including more than 40 destinations from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway.

Brent DeRaad, president and CEO of Visit Tucson, said the new Allegiant nonstop to Bellingham will provide valuable new access to Vancouver, about 55 miles away and northern Washington.

“It will provide a convenient, low-cost option for people traveling not only to Vancouver and northern Washington, but for people to come here and see what we offer in Tucson,” said DeRaad, adding that the Provo service will complement current nonstop service to Salt Lake City.

Alaska Airlines currently flies nonstop from Tucson to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and Delta is expected to resume seasonal flights to Seattle on Nov. 3.

Lisa Lovallo, chair of the Tucson Airport Authority, welcomed Allegiant and said its arrival, along with Frontier and a recent switch to a low-cost model by Sun Country Airlines, is good news for Tucson air travelers.

“More air service with the ultra low-cost business model means low fares for everyone who flies through (TIA),” said Lovallo, who is vice president and market manager of Cox Southern Arizona.

Because Allegiant is adding flights to destinations currently not served nonstop by TIA, the airline qualifies for financial air-service incentives from the airport.

Allegiant will be eligible for landing-fee cuts, passenger-based terminal rent credits and marketing funding of up to $20,000 for each new route, said David Hatfield, senior director of air-service development and marketing for the Tucson Airport Authority.

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner. On Facebook: Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz


David joined the Star in 1997, after working as a consumer and business reporter in Phoenix for more than a decade. A graduate of Ohio University, he has covered most business beats focusing on technology, defense and utilities. He has won several awards.