North America

Providence Lands Another Low-cost Carrier

Allegiant

T.F. Green Airport in Providence, R.I., appears to be the destination of choice for ultra low-cost airlines. It’s attracted three such carriers in less than a year.

Allegiant Air recently announced that it would begin service to Punta Gorda, Fla., near Fort Meyers, Fla., in the southwest portion of the state, on Sept. 28. It will also begin service to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport near Tampa and St. Petersburg, on Oct. 27 and to Cincinnati on Nov. 17. The airline will offer two flights a week to each city.

Allegiant already provides service to the New England cities of Bangor, Maine, and Manchester, N.H.

Allegiant becomes the second ultra low-cost carrier to announce it will start service to the airport located just south of Providence in Warwick, R.I. In May, Frontier Airlines announced it would begin service from Green to Denver and Orlando.

And later this month, Norwegian Air will begin its highly anticipated transatlantic service from Providence to Edinburgh, with addition routes to Ireland to follow early next month.

Norwegian recently announced that it is shifting its seasonal service to Martinique and Guadeloupe from Boston to Providence later this year.

Providence has had transatlantic service in the past, however, only to see those flights discontinued. Last year, Condor Airlines announced it was suspending seasonal flights between Providence and Frankfurt.
Like other ultra low-cost carriers, Allegiant offers rock-bottom base fares, but charges additional fees for virtually everything else, including carry-on bags and seat assignments.

All three airlines said their entry to Green was based in part on the airport’s proximity to Boston and the Connecticut market. Green, located about an hour’s drive south of Boston, is also connected to the Hub with regular commuter rail service.

The airlines also noted it is substantially less expensive to operate out of Green than Boston’s Logan International.

Of course, Allegiant comes with its own baggage. An investigation by the Tampa Bay Tribune last year found that Allegiant jets are four times more likely to fail in air than planes operated by other U.S. airlines.

The Tribune found Allegiant jets made 77 emergency landings for very serious mechanical failures in 2015 alone. The airline operates one of the oldest fleets in the industry, although it has recently begun replacing some of its aircraft with newer Airbus models.

According to online sources, the average age of Allegiant’s fleet is 22.4 years.

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