Redmond city officials said Friday the impact of Allegiant Air ending service here won't be as bad as some think. They say one less air carrier means one more hassle for air travelers in Central Oregon, where airline choices are already limited.
"It's really going to be the inconvenience it's going to create for the community," said Eric Sande, executive director of the Redmond Chamber of Commerce. "For the region not having direct access to some really unique and exotic destinations, so it's a disappointment."
"We were just in Las Vegas two weeks ago meeting with the people from Allegiant Air," said Alana Hughson, executive director of the Central Oregon Visitors Association. "They didn't give any indication that this was on the horizon."
"It will impact the residents of Central Oregon most directly, because those nonstop flights to those nice destinations were a great benefit for local travel," said Hughson.
Officials say they're sorry to see Allegiant go, but it will not have a large economic impact on the area.
Inbound flight service remains strong from Redmond's primary destinations: Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver,and San Francisco.
"Frequency is important," said Hughson. "We really need daily service and while the Allegiant service was a definite benefit, it's a little bit less painful than if we were to see a transition with another carrier."
Less than two months after ending five years of flights between Redmond Airport and Las Vegas, low-cost airline Allegiant Air announced Thursday that it will end all service out of Redmond on Aug. 12.
"Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT) today announced it will end its scheduled service from Redmond Municipal Airport (RDM)," the brief e-mailed statement said.
"The carrier?s last day of service will be August 12, 2012. Customers with reservations beyond that date will be contacted directly by Allegiant for full refund," the company said.
"They will be contacted by a customer service representative directly. That contact may come in the form of email or phone, and they will be given a refund," said Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler.
?We are always disappointed to end service in a market,? said Eric Fletcher, Allegiant Travel Co.'s manager of airports. ?We thank Redmond Municipal Airport for their partnership and apologize to any travelers who are inconvenienced by this decision.?
Allegiant began service from Redmond Municipal Airport and Las Vegas McCarren International Airport (LAS) on March 28, 2007 and stopped those flights in April of this year, but had continued service from Redmond to Phoenix-Mesa and the San Francisco Bay.
Asked about the reasons for the move, Wheeler said, "We're constantly evaluating all of our markets and all of our routes -- those we currently serve and those we don't service."
"In this situation, we just weren't seeing the demand we hoped," Wheeler said, adding that the recently added Oakland flights hadn't proved as popular as the airline sought.
"We're constantly evaluating all of the markets, those we fly to and those that we don't fly to," said Wheeler. "It's not beyond the realm of possibility that we could in the future see and opportunity and act on it."
As for the future, Wheeler said, "Redmond will "certainly continue to be one of many markets around the country we keep an eye on," for possible flights.
Airport Director Kim Dickie issued a statement, saying, ?The Redmond Municipal Airport is very disappointed to lose the service provided by Allegiant Air. They have served the central Oregon community since 2007.?
?Despite the recent announcement, Redmond continues to offer the Central Oregon community air service to Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, and San Francisco," she said. "and our management team and community stakeholders such as Central Oregon Visitors Association, Economic Development for Central Oregon, and the Redmond Chamber of Commerce & CVB remain steadfast in their ongoing efforts to recruit additional service to the community.?
Dickie also noted that Redmond will be adding an additional seasonal United Express flight to Denver beginning June 2. The new flight is intended to help create additional travel options for busy summer travelers. The service will run through July 31.