Allegiant Air will be returning to St. Clair County's MidAmerica Airport after a more than three year absence. Leaders announced the new agreement at a news conference Tuesday. It will begin offering nonstop jet service to Orlando, Florida beginning November 7. The carrier left in early 2009.
The new flights will operate twice weekly, between MidAmerica and Orlando Sanford International Airport. As an enticement, the county provided a $25,000 grant to Allegiant Air. The county expects to double that in money coming back from the returning service, according to Eric Fletcher, Manager of Airports for Allegiant.
During the past four years without a commercial airline, MidAmerica focused on building its cargo business. A year ago, an extension was given to a developer in charge of building a warehouse at the airport, said to be capable of luring Chinese cargo to the region. St. Clair County has invested $3.3 million on the airport's warehouse in recent years, with almost a million dollars for refrigeration units and over $2-million for specialized equipment to load and unload flowers.