Today The Right Place, Inc., in collaboration with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), announced that Allegiant Air, LLC will be opening a new base at GRR in Grand Rapids. This expansion will result in the creation of at least 66 new jobs and a capital investment of $42.8 million.
Founded in 1998, Allegiant is known as one of America’s premier, ultra-low-cost carriers. The airline offers nonstop service to more than 120 popular destinations across the United States, primarily from small and medium-sized communities. Allegiant currently flies to seven nonstop destinations from GRR, including five in Florida, one in Arizona, and one in Nevada. However, with its new base in GRR, the airline will house two Airbus-series aircraft in the city, bringing the resources and flexibility to serve additional routes in the future.
To support Allegiant’s two aircraft, the airline will establish a crew and maintenance base that will add at least 66 additional jobs to the airport with a majority of them coming from technical career fields to include pilots, flight attendants, and aircraft maintenance personnel. A majority of the new positions are expected to pay more than double the Michigan average wage. These jobs – in addition to existing ground support team members – will continue to fuel the carrier’s already incredible growth at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
“Grand Rapids has been a great city for Allegiant, with solid demand and steady growth over the years,” said Keith Hansen, vice president of government affairs, Allegiant. “It’s a perfect location for a permanent base, where having locally-based aircraft and crews will open a world of opportunity to expand options for both new service and operational hours. This will make travel even more convenient and affordable for both residents and visitors to the area, and further establish Allegiant as a hometown airline for Grand Rapids.”
“Today’s announcement would not have been possible without the support of key state and local agencies and partners,” said Hansen. “We’d like to thank both the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and The Right Place, as well as our long-term partners at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.”
The MEDC is supporting the expansion with the approval of a $200,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.
“Allegiant’s decision to open a base at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is a big win for the region, and will have a ripple effect through our economy beyond the initial jobs and investment,” said Birgit Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. and Board Member of the GRR Airport Authority Board. “It speaks to the strength of our growing airport, which is critical for companies doing business in West Michigan and beyond.”
“Echoing our community partners, the team here at GRR is excited that Allegiant has made the decision to establish a base at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport,” said Brian Picardat, Interim President & CEO, Gerald R. Ford International Airport. “This will bring additional jobs to West Michigan and more travel options for passengers. Thank you to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and The Right Place for their assistance in bringing this base to Grand Rapids.”