Chattanooga Airport has landed new nonstop roundtrip flights to Las Vegas on discount airline Allegiant Air, with service to start May 16, according to the carrier.
The airline will offer twice-a-week service to Harry Reid International Airport, the carrier said Thursday.
Lovell Field officials value the longstanding relationship with Allegiant and appreciate the airline's continued and expanded investment in the community, Airport President and CEO April Cameron said in a statement. She said the nonstops are a result of Allegiant's "collaboration with our community and our shared vision."
Special introductory one-way fares as low as $79 for a limited time are available at allegiantair.com, according to the Las Vegas-based airline. Seats and dates are limited and the fares are not available on all flights, the airline said. Flights must be purchased by Friday for travel by Aug. 12, according to Allegiant.
Allegiant currently provides nonstops between Chattanooga and two other destinations — Tampa and Orlando, Florida.
Also, airport officials said last month they're targeting more service to the West as they talk to United Airlines about nonstops to Denver.
The airport plans to offer $1.12 million in federal and local incentive money for marketing and revenue guarantees to land the Denver flights.
"We'll use it as a recruiting tool," Cameron said at an Airport Authority meeting last month.
Denver is one of the most-sought-after locations not served by Lovell Field nonstop service, airport officials have said. Denver International Airport also offers a lot of connections to points west, according to officials.
The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's updated economic development plan calls more air service a potential game-changer.
"A transformative investment in the quality of air service ... could help Chattanooga become a true contender for headquarters and large professional service organizations," the plan said.
Air service in Chattanooga is "a limiting factor in support of international business recruitment," a developer of the plan said earlier this year. The plan eyes development of an air service fund and a new marketing initiative in collaboration with the airport.
Santosh Sankar, an Airport Authority member, said at the meeting he sat next to a United route planner at a conference in Chattanooga that Lovell Field hosted for airlines serving the city earlier this month. The mayors of Chattanooga and Hamilton County along with local business people took part to pitch the airport.
"He liked seeing everyone show up," Sankar said about the United route planner. "He said, 'That's a chip for you all.'"
The conference was a first step in the renewed effort to attract more air service, Jim Hall, the authority's chair, said at the meeting. The planned completion early next year of the airport's $28 million terminal expansion is another key step, he said.
The terminal expansion will add 26,000 square feet and renovate 36,000 square feet. The project is the largest expansion in more than 30 years by size and the most expensive ever, airport officials said.