August 20, 2013
A new airline is arriving at the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, and with it comes a new destination for local travelers.
Allegiant Airlines announced Tuesday morning that it will begin nonstop service from CHO to the Orlando-Sanford International Airport, a location that CHO's executive director Melinda Crawford says is among the most requested routes.
"They only go to airports that they know is beneficial for their bottom line and their business," Crawford said of the airline.
CHO became an attractive option for Allegiant after the airport's 800-foot runway expansion. With this fifth airline and seventh destination for CHO comes more revenue for the airport, which doesn't receive any taxpayer money.
"One of the things people don't realize is that every time we get new service or additional service, it increases the number of passengers going through here, so it increases our economic viability," Crawford says.
Officials with the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors' Bureau say there's a mutual opportunity for both the Charlottesville and Orlando communities.
"It's the theme park capital of the United States," said Kurt Burkhart, executive director of the CACVB. "Lots of people living around Orlando are looking for places to get out, and Charlottesville would probably be a wonderful destination for them to consider."
There are a few catches. At first, there will only be two flights per week -- one on Thursday and one on Sunday. And the Sanford airport is the secondary hub for central Florida, behind the Orlando International Airport. The Sanford option is about 30 minutes outside downtown Orlando.
Still, many welcome the new destination to the list of nonstop departures. Charlottesville is the airline's 99th airport, and CHO officials say they hope Allegiant is here to stay.
"We're fortunate that you don't have to drive to Richmond, you don't have to drive to Dulles Airport to be able to catch that flight that would normally give you a direct flight down to Orlando," Burkhart said.
The service begins on Nov. 21. For promotional travel deals, visit the airline's website.