Small airline continues to grow in East Valley

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MESA, Ariz. -- Allegiant is the only commercial carrier flying out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and Thursday, its first flight to Las Vegas took off.  It also announced it will start flying to the Bay Area in January.

The small airline with 53 planes is growing.  It expects to expand its fleet and in January, it will also start taking people from the East Valley to Oakland, Calif.

“We've seen customers continue to fly us because of the low fares and focus on flying from smaller markets to larger markets,” spokeswoman Kristine Shattuck-Cooper explained.

“This gold colored wall is a temporary wall,” a man said pointing out part of the baggage claim area.

The airport is expanding the terminal building and planning a second terminal while attracting other businesses that have little to do with moving passengers from point A to point B.

“A company coming here that needs ramp access,” said Scott Somers, Vice Mayor for District 6 in Mesa.  “And their business is re-engineering aircraft parts and making them like new and selling them back to airline.”

Somers said it's not about competing with Sky Harbor International, but partnering to give some passengers convenience while fostering an environment for business.

“Manufacturing is going on here,” he said.  “Plus the airport, plus we have the community college and Arizona State University Polytechnic.”

The expansion happening at the airport is designed around the increased business for Allegiant, but Somers said Thursday that they hope to land another airline with a new terminal.