Allegiant Air announces service to Oakland

Allegiant Air announces service to Oakland

Allegiant Air will offer twice-weekly service between Medford and Oakland International Airport, the company said Tuesday.

The Las Vegas-based airline will begin flying MD-80 jets to the Bay Area on April 26 and is offering a promotional $29.99 one-way fare, which must be purchased by Feb. 15. Travel must be completed by Aug. 14.

Allegiant also added Oakland flights from a half-dozen other Northwest destinations: Redmond, Billings, Mont., Bozeman, Mont., Kalispell, Mont., Missoula, Mont., and Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Allegiant targets vacationers and leisure travelers, setting them up with hotel and car rentals, but it gives other flyers a new option.

Ron Fox, a member of the Airport Advisory Board, said the value to the region is greater than the additional 330 seats available to the Northern California gateway. "It opens another option for us and puts Oakland on the radar screen into and out of Medford," said Fox, who also is the executive director for Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc.

Allegiant service to Las Vegas has been used by local residents as a launching point for global travel.

Oakland is one of five West Coast hubs for Allegiant, along with Bellingham, Wash., Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Mesa, Ariz. Previously, it was connected with Bellingham, Eugene and Mesa.

"We are happy to partner with an airport that operates in a low-cost, efficient manner which allows us to pass the savings on to our customers," said Andrew Levy, Allegiant Travel Co. president.

The twice-weekly flights are scheduled on Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons. "Sundays are good if you need to be at a meeting on Monday, and Thursday gets you home for the weekend," Fox said.

Local business travelers are in a world akin to the Steve Martin movie "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," he said. "You just have to cobble it together."

Allegiant began providing flights out of Medford in the spring of 2007 when it began service to Las Vegas. Later it added Los Angeles and Arizona routes. Its growth has helped the airport surpass the 600,000 passenger mark four of the past five years. "I'm an optimist," airport Director Bern Case said. "I'm expecting 2012 to be better than 2011. I don't know if we'll be in record territory, but we will be back up over last year."

The Jackson County-run airport counts both arriving and departing passengers in its totals. Counting two round-trips per week, and averaging 150 passengers per flight, the airport could easily add 30,000 to its annual count. "All the little pieces come together," Case said. "The more success you have, the more you tend to get."

Although Allegiant hasn't announced what fares will be after the introductory period, the Eugene-Oakland rates typically run $47 to $59.

Allegiant is flying one Boeing 757 and has a contract for six 757s, which soon will be used for trips to Hawaii. The company announced it was gearing up for flights to the islands a few years ago before the economy, fuel costs and other issues stalled the plan.

Allegiant once again is eyeing Hawaii and likely will announced its intentions in coming weeks.

Asked whether adding seven routes to Oakland pointed to a Bay Area-Hawaii route, Allegiant Travel spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler declined to say. "We're taking travelers to San Francisco," Wheeler said. "Oakland is closer to San Francisco than SFO (the San Francisco airport)."

Reservations can be made on the company's website at or by calling 702-505-8888.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email

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