Allegiant Air to start lost-cost flight between Bakersfield and Las Vegas

Allegiant Air will soon begin lost-cost service between Bakersfield and Las Vegas could foretell additional welcome news involving Meadows Field.Not only is the Las Vegas-based airline considering adding its own Bakersfield flights to and from Los Angeles and Phoenix, according to an Allegiant spokeswoman, but other carriers also are weighing a move into Bakersfield as well, said the county airports director, who predicted an announcement along these lines as soon as next spring.What’s more, the city’s tourism chief said three-times-a-week flights to and from Las Vegas could present new opportunities for attracting out-of-towners who want to experience the Bakersfield Sound firsthand.Any flights into Bakersfield are a good thing,said Don Cohen, head of Bakersfield’s convention and visitor’s bureau.Although Las Vegas is an air travel hub that would give local fliers access to a broad selection of new destinations, Allegiant’s plan to launch service out of Bakersfield Nov. 17 is not designed to connect local travelers with other cities. The low-cost carrier is part of a travel company that rents cars and books hotel stays in Las Vegas specifically for the leisure market.Either way, Allegiant’s arrival in Bakersfield represents a turnaround from two years ago, when airlines were departing the city amid soaring fuel costs. Meadows Field hosted at least five carriers in early 2008. Now there are two: U.S. Airways and United Express, which together provide service to Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco.As usual, the county is in talks with four or five airlines about the possibility of establishing service in Bakersfield, Kern’s director of airports, Jack Gotcher, said Tuesday.He alluded to county discussions with Horizon Air, which he said may be interested in establishing low-cost service between Bakersfield and locations north of Sacramento, perhaps as far away as the Pacific Northwest.A Horizon Air spokeswoman said the Seattle-based airline has made no announcements regarding Meadows Field.We’re always approached by airports all over the country wanting service,spokeswoman Jen Boyer said.For its part, Allegiant is open to expanding service out of Bakersfield, including additional flights to and from Las Vegas, company spokeswoman Sabrina LoPiccolo said at a Tuesday press conference that featured a showgirl dressed in blue feathers and a glitzy headdress.LoPiccolo said the airline’s criteria for entering a market are the same as they are for expanding service there: There should be no low-cost competition and no other nonstop flights to the same vacation destination.Another factor in whether to add more flights out of Bakersfield, she said, is how popular the Las Vegas flights prove to be.

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