Where do you think most people who fly out of Louisville International Airport are heading?
Rachel Aretakis/Courier-Journal/USA TODAY NetworkJim Welch, left, chairman of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, shakes hands with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer shakes hands with LRAA Executive Director Dan Mann, right, at the October announcement of new direct service to Los Angeles.(Photo: Special to Courier-Journal by David R. Lutman)Just in time for Mardi Gras, a new nonstop flight to New Orleans is landing in Louisville.Starting Feb. 28 and running through May 5, Allegiant Air will fly twice weekly to New Orleans on Sundays and Thursdays, Louisville International Airport announced in a statement Tuesday. Mardi Gras is March 5 next year.The discount carrier will use a 180-seat Airbus A320. It already flies from Louisville to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Walton Beach, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Orlando Sanford, Punta Gorda, Savannah and St. Pete-Clearwater.“The addition of New Orleans marks Allegiant’s 10th destination from Louisville International Airport,” said Dan Mann, head of the local airport authority. “We couldn’t be happier to welcome this route connecting the bourbon capital of the world to Bourbon Street.”Read this: How Louisville’s ties to Japan – a big investor here – just expandedYou may like: Louisville begins nonstop flights to Austin. Los Angeles may be nextLast month, the airport also announced it was adding its first nonstop flight to the West Coast. American Airlines will fly daily to Los Angeles International Airport starting April 2. “We’re thrilled to see Allegiant adding New Orleans to our growing list of nonstop flights,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. “This is just another indication of our city’s momentum.”To coax the carrier into offering the Los Angeles route, a local group dedicated to bringing more nonstop flights to big coastal cities worked behind the scenes to ensure American against losses. In that case, the group — the Louisville Regional Airlift Development or LRAD program — used a pool of $3 million, much of it public money, to help backstop losses for two years. The program was not involved in the New Orleans deal, said Jim Welch, who heads the board of the local airport authority. The group, however, continues to push for nonstop flights to Boston, San Francisco and Seattle.Proponents say lack of air service has held back the city’s population growth. One presentation from the airlift development program compares Louisville’s population to that of Austin, Charlotte, Nashville and Raleigh since 1980.Louisville’s metropolitan area, as currently defined, had a larger population in 1980 than Austin, Nashville and Raleigh, and was about 100,000 people behind Charlotte, according to the Kentucky State Data Center at the University of Louisville. Today, Louisville trails them all. Over the past decade, the number of nonstop destinations reachable from Louisville has held steady at around 30, while the number reachable from Nashville, a small-scale hub for Southwest Airlines, has grown from 49 to 64, the Louisville Regional Airport Authority has said. Six airlines provide service from Louisville: Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United.Reach reporter Alfred Miller at [email protected] or 502-582-7142. Follow him on Twitter @AlfredFMiller. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/subscribe.More: Louisville plan to lure more nonstop flights gets a $1.5M boostRead or Share this story: https://www.courier-journal.com/story/travel/2018/11/13/louisville-international-airport-adding-new-orleans-flight/1981119002/
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