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Allegiant suspends direct flights from Wichita to Los Angeles

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, at 7:56 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, at 8:29 p.m.

Allegiant Air has suspended its twice-weekly direct flights from Wichita to Los Angeles after it lost gate space at LAX.

The airline hopes to find an alternative soon, a spokeswoman said.

“It is considered a suspension, not a cancellation of service,” said Allegiant’s Jessica Wheeler. “We do not have permanent gate space at LAX. We were sharing, the equivalent of subleasing, gate space with Delta. They needed it for their own operations, which is understandable, so we were told by Delta that we would no longer have the same space allocation anymore. We were working with LAX to find an alternative, but unfortunately we have not found an adequate alternative.”

Allegiant’s last flight from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport to Los Angeles was Aug. 11.

Valerie Wise, air service and business development manager with the Wichita Airport Authority, said Allegiant’s service to Los Angeles had been seasonal, offered in the summer and during other peak travel periods.

Wise said Mid-Continent was obviously disappointed to lose the direct flight to Los Angeles.

“Well, sure,” Wise said. “But we understand. If there’s no space, they didn’t have much of a choice.”

Wise said cost likely was an issue too.

“They’ve been great partners, and we hope they find a way to work it out with another airport in the vicinity,” Wise said.

Frontier Airlines announced earlier this year that it would halt its flights from Wichita to Denver next month.

Allegiant suspended other routes to Los Angeles as well, Wheeler said. It ended flights from Billings, Mont.; Fargo, N.D.; Missoula, Mont.; and Sioux Falls, S.D. Allegiant has served Wichita since 2003 with direct flights to Las Vegas. It still flies to Las Vegas and Phoenix. Its direct flights to Los Angeles and Phoenix started in 2009.

Its planes hold 166 passengers, and the airline “shoots for 90 percent capacity,” Wheeler said.

The airline’s Los Angeles and Orlando, Fla., routes “tend to be seasonal,” Wheeler said. In 2010, Allegiant offered service “the majority of the year” from Wichita to Los Angeles,. Wheeler said. In 2011 and earlier this year, the flights went on seasonal hiatus, she said.

There are “quite a few” airports in the Los Angeles area, including Burbank and Long Beach, Wheeler said.

Allegiant will reinstate flights from Wichita to the area “as quickly as we’re able to. I don’t know that there’s a quick fix to this at the moment, but it is something that we are currently working on,” she said.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com.

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