Low-cost carrier Allegiant is trotting out a seventh nonstop route from Charleston International, and this one connects the Holy City to the heart of horse country.
The Las Vegas-based airline announced Tuesday it will start twice-weekly service between the Lowcountry and Louisville, Ky.
Flights will run Monday and Friday through mid-August to the Kentucky Derby city, but they won't start until after the famous race runs on May 2. The Louisville-bound flights will begin on May 22.
In launching the new service, Allegiant is offering one-way fares as low as $55, but seats and dates are limited and fares are not available on all flights. Tickets must be purchased by Jan. 16 for air travel by Aug. 17. Optional baggage charges and additional restrictions may apply.
The flight leaves Charleston at 4:53 p.m. and lands in Louisville at 6:25 p.m. Eastern time. The flight from Louisville departs at 7:15 p.m. and arrives in Charleston at 8:41 p.m.
“We’re incredibly excited to launch this new, nonstop service,” said Drew Wells, Allegiant vice president of planning and revenue. “These ultra-low-cost flights give everyone the opportunity to experience all the live entertainment and world-famous sporting events hosted in Louisville.”
A liaison between Charleston's airport and tourism agency Explore Charleston called the new route "a big deal."
"It's a good-sized market," said Gary Edwards. "With the Allegiant business model, there are a number of cities it can service on less than a daily basis."
Helen Hill, chairwoman of Charleston County Aviation Authority which oversees the airport and CEO of Explore Charleston, called Allegiant's new route "clearly a win" for residents of the Derby City and the Holy City.
“Last year was exceptional for the airport, and (the) announcement of new nonstop service to Louisville is evidence the positive momentum continues,” Hill said.
Allegiant launched service in Charleston in 2018 and already offers seasonal flights to Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus in Ohio as well as Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Punta Gorda, Fla.
All of the routes will return this year, and the winter flight to Punta Gorda is expected to be extended, Edwards said.
The Cincinnati and Columbus flights resume Feb. 13. Routes to Cleveland and Pittsburgh start back on Feb. 14, and the Indianapolis leg returns March 6.
The new Louisville route strengthens Allegiant's commitment to Charleston, said airport CEO Paul Campbell.
“Allegiant’s unique business model has clearly been well received by our travelers, some of whom may have not considered air travel an option in the past,” Campbell said. “It has been rewarding to see the partnership with Allegiant flourish in such a short time.”
The new Louisville route will give Charleston nonstop flights to 28 cities in 18 states, the District of Columbia and London by this summer.
British Airways will resume twice-weekly seasonal service between Charleston and the capital of England on March 29.
Allegiant also is adding new seasonal routes twice a week from Myrtle Beach International Airport.
On June 5, the airline will connect the Grand Strand with Providence, R.I. The following day it will add flights to Knoxville, Tenn., and Elmira, N.Y. One-way fares from Myrtle Beach to Providence and Elmira start at $55, while the one-way leg to Knoxville comes in as low as $44.