MISSOULA — Missoula landed its second nonstop flight into the Los Angeles basin on Tuesday when Allegiant Airlines announced new year-round service to John Wayne Airport in Orange County.
The flight brings to three the number of year-round, nonstop flights offered by Allegiant from Missoula International Airport, including Mesa, Arizona, and Las Vegas.
“We’ve been working on it with them for a couple weeks,” said Brian Ellestad, deputy director of Missoula International Airport. “They had additional slots out of Orange County and announced several new cities and we were one of them. It’s good news during unprecedented times.”
Allegiant also serves Oakland and Los Angeles during the summer months from Missoula. The new Orange County flight is set to begin on Feb. 18, 2021.
With three year-round flights and two seasonal flights, the carrier now connects Missoula travelers with five different cities.
“We’re excited to see Allegiant add yet another nonstop destination to MSO,” said Matthew Doucette, chair of the Missoula County Airport Authority. “They have been a great community partner and the new service to Orange County will provide another low-cost alternative for our passengers to and from California.”
This summer, Alaska Airlines also announced three new nonstop flights from Missoula to San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco. Between Alaska and Allegiant, passengers can new reach eight destinations along the West Coast from Missoula, including Portland and Seattle.
“Competition always drives down air fairs, which drives service,” said Ellestad. “The Orange County option now gives our customers more selection for two different airports in the LA basin, which is a good thing. Lower fairs bring more competition.”
Ellestad said the Orange County flight is currently scheduled to depart Missoula at 8 p.m. and arrive at John Wayne Airport at 9:18 p.m. It will depart Orange County at 8:45 a.m. and arrive in Missoula at noon.
Allegiant’s announcement on Tuesday included service expansion to 15 different cities. Missoula was the only location in Montana.