The first Allegiant Air nonstop flight between Los Angeles and Cedar Rapids was greeted with a water cannon salute when it landed on Friday at The Eastern Iowa Airport.
The flight marked the beginning a new direct flights from Cedar Rapids to Los Angeles on Allegiant Air, making Cedar Rapids one of two origination locations offering six nonstop destination options with the Las Vegas-based low fare airline.
“We are excited to be able to offer Eastern Iowans nonstop service to the West Coast, as Los Angeles is one of our top destinations,” said Airport Director Tim Bradshaw.
The airport and Allegiant held a celebration, passing out cakeballs and sunglasses to mark two milestones — the new destination and a 10-year relationship.
“It has been a memorable partnership with Allegiant Air,” Bradshaw said. Allegiant began service at The Eastern Iowa Airport in June 2004 with service to Las Vegas.
The new flights will operate twice each week, seasonally until Sept. 8, flying nonstop to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The newest addition will become the only nonstop flight from Cedar Rapids to any California destination.
Other direct flight options include Punta Gorda, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Las Vegas, and Phoenix — or six of the total 90 cities the airline serves. Allegiant Air celebrated its 15th anniversary earlier this year.
Los Angeles was chosen because it is one of the top 20 destinations for those flying out of Cedar Rapids and airline and airport officials said the market was a driving force in the decision.
Allegiant is offering promotional $123 one-way fares for the next week as a kick-off for the flights.
The Los Angeles airport offers additional travel options for Allegiant passengers, such as direct flights to Hawaii.
Airport officials are looking into direct flights to Myrtle Beach, as its “strong market” of golfers often visit there seasonally.
The airport is preparing for a $47 million passenger terminal modernization project, with a majority of the first phase to be completed by the end of the year.