CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Allegiant Air is bringing back its aircraft base at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Kent County.
The air carrier announced the $42.8 million investment at the airport in Cascade Township Tuesday morning. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation approved a $200,000 performance-based grant for the project.
“This was really the optimal time. We’ve done a fleet transition recently. We’ve got the equipment, the resources, and we’re really looking at demand in the area. That’s always the driver for us,” said Hilarie Grey from Allegiant Air.
Allegiant officials say the move will allow the low-cost air carrier to house two Airbus-series aircraft at the airport and create at least 66 crew and maintenance jobs. Economic officials expect most of the new positions will pay more than double the average state wage.
“The travel we’re seeing, up over 16 percent last year… that just shows that there’s people wiling to travel, people wiling to use the air service. And that’s why Allegiant is committing to using our airport,” said Brian Picardat, interim president and CEO for Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
Allegiant opened its first aircraft base at Ford International Airport in February 2010— a year after rolling out its first flight at the travel hub. As part of the investment, Allegiant began keeping two planes at the airport and added 60 local jobs. However, the company removed the base in August 2011, cutting some flights and all 60 jobs.
The base will open in June — the same time Allegiant Air plans to begin two nonstop flights from Ford Airport to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) and Nashville International Airport (BNA).