UPDATE: Allegiant Air will launch new nonstop, seasonal jet service between Cedar Rapids and Los Angeles beginning June 6.
The flights will operate twice weekly — Monday and Friday — between June 6 and Sept. 8, flying direct from The Eastern Iowa Airport to Los Angeles International Airport. Allegiant will use 166-passenger McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft.
Travelers will leave Cedar Rapids at 12:30 p.m. (CDT) on Mondays and arrive in Los Angeles at 2:30 p.m. (PDT). Flights will leave Los Angeles at 6:25 a.m. (PDT) on Fridays and arrive in Cedar Rapids at 11:50 a.m. (CDT).
The Allegiant flights will be the only nonstop service from Cedar Rapids to any destination in California. The airline will offer promotional one-way fares as low as $92, plus the usual local and federal fees collected by all airlines.
Tim Bradshaw, airport director, said the Los Angeles flights will be the sixth nonstop destination with Allegiant from Cedar Rapids.
"We are excited to be able to offer Eastern Iowans nonstop service to the West Coast, as Los Angeles is one of our top 10 destinations," Bradshaw said. "This speaks volumes to how well this market has done, despite the national economy and the recovery from the 2008 flood locally."
Allegiant began serving The Eastern Iowa Airport in June 2004 with direct flights to Las Vegas. The airline launched nonstop service in December between Cedar Rapids and Punta Gorda, Fla.
Las Vegas-based Allegiant provides more nonstop destinations from Cedar Rapids than any other airline. Micah Lillard of Allegiant Travel Co., corporate parent of Allegiant Air, noted that Cedar Rapids has more nonstop destinations than any other origination city served by the carrier.
"We are really happy to have such a strong presence in Cedar Rapids," Lillard said. "It really speaks volumes to the ridership that we've been able to establish here. We couldn't be happier with the partnership we have with the airport as well as the community."
While Allegiant's direct flights to Los Angeles initially will be seasonal, Bradshaw said history has shown that the airline eventually may provide service throughout the year.
"When Allegiant began offering flights to St. Petersburg, it was seasonal service," Bradshaw said. "That eventually transitioned into service throughout the year."
Bradshaw said the airport continues to press for direct flights to New York and Washington, D.C. He said the airport has been discussing seasonal service to Myrtle Beach, S.C., with Allegiant.
"A lot of the golfers want to fly to Myrtle Beach, which is becoming a focus city for Allegiant," he said.
Carroll Reasoner, chairwoman of the Cedar Rapids Airport Commission, said the nearly 30-year-old passenger terminal at the airport will be the subject of a $47 million remodeling and expansion project over the next four years. The project will include construction of two additional gates to handle increased passenger traffic.
A total of 1,042,291 passengers used the airport during the last calendar year, the second-highest in the facility's history after 1,060,120 passengers recorded in 2007. The passenger tally for 2013 was 6.2 percent higher than 2012.