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Coming soon: Flights to Vegas

By Jeff Kiger

jkiger@postbulletin.com

What happens in Vegas … now can start in Rochester.

That is, once Allegiant Air takes flight out of the Rochester International Airport.

Officials from Allegiant, an air carrier that specializes in Las Vegas, announced this morning that it will launch two weekly direct-to-Las Vegas flights from Rochester in June.

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Each flight on Allegiant will have 150 seats available on a MD80 plane.

"This is a tremendous opportunity," says Airport Manager Steve Leqve. "Going forward, if successful, there may be more opportunities this fall."

Mayor Ardell Brede, who chairs the airport commission, says this addition means more than just more flight options.

"It will bring more business, like to the Sleep Inn hotel by the airport," he said. "The convenience of staying there and shuttling over to the airport will attract people not only from southern Minnesota, but from southwestern Wisconsin and northern Iowa also."

Beside offering the low-cost flights, Allegiant also sells vacation packages, including hotels and rental cars.

There have never been regular flights to Las Vegas from Rochester. In the past, some charter flights have been offered to Las Vegas and to Laughlin, Nev.

"The Airport commission committed this year to new opportunities," Leqve said

The last time new flights were added in Rochester was in 2005, when American Airlines added nonstop flights to Dallas. Those flights were eventually dropped.

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Leqve said the commission is in talks about possibly reviving the flight to Dallas.

The commission is also talking to Northwest Airlines about possibly adding another a Rochester-to-Detroit flight.

"We think there is really a market," he said.

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