Low-cost carrier Allegiant Air is establishing a new base at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan and will start nonstop service...

Low-cost carrier Allegiant Air is establishing a new base at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan and will start nonstop service to its sixth destination from Grand Rapids on April 30 with flights to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

From April 27, the carrier will base two 150-seat McDonnell Douglas MD-80s at the airport. Allegiant’s operation will grow to 34 flights per week and 60 jobs including positions for pilots, ground handlers, customer service agents, flight attendants and aircraft technicians.

“We’re extremely pleased to increase our commitment to West Michigan by making Grand Rapids an Allegiant base,” says Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., CEO of Allegiant Air’s parent, Allegiant Travel Company. “Though we have been in the community for only a year, the support we’ve been shown for our unique brand of low-cost, nonstop air service has been outstanding. We are happy to further our investment in the community by bringing more service and jobs to the marketplace. Further, we are pleased to announce a new scholarship program for area students.”

As a community partner, Allegiant  will contribute three, $1,000 scholarships annually to West Michigan students. The company is committed to providing $3,000 in scholarship funds annually while providing air service to the community.

This is a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 of Allegiant Airlines, which is a subsidiary of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company. Allegiant operates an all-MD-80 fleet and is now one of the largest operators of the type in the world. By the end of 2009 Allegiant was operating 46 MD-80s and, after contracting to buy 18 more from SAS on December 30, 2009, by the end of 2011 it will have at least 60 MD-80s in service

Since inaugurating nonstop service from Grand Rapids to Orlando and Tampa Bay in Florida on February 3, 2009, Allegiant has added service to Las Vegas, Phoenix-Mesa and Fort Lauderdale. Since launching flights from Grand Rapids a year ago, Allegiant has carried more than 131,000 passengers to and from all of its vacation destinations and claims it has saved the community well over $5.5 million in airfares.

“We are very pleased that the West Michigan community support of Allegiant Air at Gerald R. Ford International continues to be strong,” says Jim Koslosky, executive director of Gerald R. Ford International Airport. “It is this support that has fueled their service growth to now include six nonstop destinations and the creation of a base of operations in Grand Rapids. The new jobs created by this expansion are further evidence that West Michigan is vibrant, successful and growing.”

Allegiant’s nonstop service to Myrtle Beach from Grand Rapids will begin on April 30. To introduce its new service to the “Seaside Golf Capital of the World” it is offering one-way introductory fares from $58.88 plus airline and government fees.

The new flights will operate two times weekly, with service on Mondays and Fridays. Flights will depart Grand Rapids at 11:30 a.m., arriving in Myrtle Beach International Airport at 1:30 p.m. Flights leaving Myrtle Beach will depart at 7:10 p.m. and reach Grand Rapids at 9:10 p.m. (all flight times are local). Allegiant will use 150-seat, MD-80s on the route; the airline only operates MD-80s.

Known as the “Seaside Golf Capital of the World,” Myrtle Beach offers endless golf and 60 miles of sandy beaches. With more than 100 golf courses to choose from, Myrtle Beach boasts many challenging courses, personally designed by golf greats such as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Tourism activities available include many water parks and aquatic adventures that include deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, boat rides and jet skiing.

Allegiant offers low-cost packages with many of Myrtle Beach’s hotel properties, including Bay View Resort; Breaker Resort; Caribbean Resort & Villas; Compass Cove Resort; Dunes Village Resort; Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort; Long Bay Resort; and Ocean Reef Resort. The company also provides car-rental service through its partnership with Alamo Rent a Car.

Allegiant’s $58.88 one-way fares are limited, not available on all flights and must be purchased by February 24, 2010. Trravel must be completed by September 20. Reservations may be made through the company’s Web site at www.allegiantair.com, the airline’s Reservations Center at 702-505-8888 or professional travel agents.

The airline’s quoted one-way fares do not include Passenger Facilities Charges, segment tax or the September 11 security fee of up to $10.70 per segment. A segment is one take-off and one landing. A so-called convenience fee of $14 per passenger applies when the fare is booked on allegiantair.com and a fee of $14 per passenger, plus $10 per segment, applies when the fare is purchased through Allegiant Air’s call centers. Purchases made at any Allegiant Air Airport Ticket Office do not incur a convenience or call-center fee.