Allegiant to Ground Flights to California City for 2 Months

allegiantDave Segal, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 22, 2013

Allegiant Air, which began weekly service in November between Santa Maria, Calif., and Honolulu, is suspending flights between the cities after Saturday due to low demand.

The suspension will affect seven flights with service to resume March 16, according to Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler.

"This is a decision we made even before the inaugural flight (on Nov. 17) from Santa Maria," Wheeler said Thursday. She added that customers who had bought tickets on the flights would get refunds or be put on other flights.

Wheeler said the Las Vegas-based carrier, which entered the islands in late June with service from Las Vegas and Fresno, Calif., is still learning the Hawaii market.

"We're relatively new in the Honolulu space, and we're learning the seasonality and the patterns," she said. "We're looking into the future of our schedule and making sure we make adjustments early."

Allegiant, which operates a 223-seat Boeing 757-200, will be adding previously announced flights to Honolulu next month from Boise, Idaho; Spokane, Wash.; and Phoenix. The Boise and Spokane flights will be weekly, while the flights from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport will be three times a week.

Besides Las Vegas and Fresno, Allegiant is flying to Hawaii from Bellingham, Wash.; Eugene, Ore.; and Stockton, Calif. The Bellingham service includes separate flights to both Honolulu and Maui.

"We've got better-than-expected demand to Hawaii during the holidays, spring break and during the summer, but like many vacation destinations, there doesn't seem to be as high of demand in off-peak travel times like after the holidays, in February and in September," Wheeler said. "So we're making adjustments.

"One of the things that makes us successful in the leisure market is we fly when people want to fly and where there's demand. We have the flexibility in our fleet to offer capacity when people want it and not offer it when there's not a demand for it." ___