Allegiant Air, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport’s only major commercial carrier, has threatened to leave the Mesa airport if PMGA’s board of directors offers a subsidy to a competing airline.
Elite Airways, a small carrier out of Maine with only seven planes, has proposed to provide air service from Mesa to Salt Lake City and San Diego, which are currently not offered by Allegiant from Mesa. The proposed deal with PMGA would mean no landing or terminal fees paid by Elite during the first six months of service. PMGA would also pay $50,000 to Elite for marketing efforts and also spend $200,000 on its own to promote Elite’s new air service. In addition, if the airline doesn’t generate enough passengers, PMGA would pay approximately $7,000 to Elite for those flights in what is calls a “revenue guarantee.” Service could begin as early as September 1 with flights to San Diego as often as twice a day three times a week.
Allegiant is currently in serious negotiations with Phoenix Sky Harbor to investigate a move there. “It’s completely inappropriate,” said Brian Davis, Allegiant’s VP of Marketing. “We don’t mind competition … what we do mind is subsidized competition.”
Allegiant has nearly 250 full-time employees based at PMGA.