Allegiant (copy)

Low-cost carrier Allegiant will begin offering flights out of Charleston this week to Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. Provided/Allegiant

Charleston's allure as a business and tourist mecca hasn't escaped the airline industry.

During the first 10 days of April, the state's busiest airport will launch nonstop service to five new destinations.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant and Denver-based Frontier Airlines — both new to the market — are expanding to Charleston and adding flights. 

Allegiant will begin serving the Lowcountry on Wednesday with initial flights to Pittsburgh on Wednesday and Saturday before switching to Thursday and Sunday. It will add a Thursday and Sunday route to Cincinnati, starting Thursday. The carrier will fly to Indianapolis on Friday and Monday, beginning Friday.

Frontier, which launched service from Charleston in February to Denver and Philadelphia, will add legs to Trenton, N.J., near Philadelphia, on Sunday and to Austin, Texas, April 10.

The Trenton flights will run three times a week on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday while the routes to Austin will operate twice weekly on Tuesday and Friday.

Frontier will add Monday and Friday flights to Chicago O'Hare International on May 11.

The two low-cost carriers aren't the only airlines adding routes from Charleston.

  • Alaska Airlines recently tacked on a fifth weekly transcontinental flight to its home base in Seattle.
  • Dallas-based Southwest Airlines will resume Denver service on Saturday and Sunday, starting this weekend, before switching to daily service June 7. It will add St. Louis back to its daily lineup May 5 and expand to two daily Nashville flights during May. Also, summer flights to Baltimore will increase daily from three to four June 7.
  • American Airlines will add a daily flight to Chicago O'Hare May 4, becoming the fourth carrier to serve the Windy City from Charleston. The carrier will increase its daily rotation to Dallas-Forth Worth, its home base, with a third flight May 4.
  • On June 7, United Airlines will launch a third daily route to Houston. Delta Air Lines will add a daily flight to Boston June 8. It began Saturday-only service earlier this month.

All of the new flights and expanded offerings from April through June will result in an 18 percent jump in the number of seats available compared to the same period last year.

"The additional flights show that people are traveling to and from this region for business and pleasure," said Helen Hill, director of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and a member of the Charleston County Aviation Authority.

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Charleston's newest airline (copy)

Frontier Airlines' inaugural flight to Charleston International Airport from Philadelphia arrived in a thick fog in February. The carrier is adding service to Trenton, N.J., and Austin, Texas, in April from Charleston. File/Brad Nettles/Staff

It's also notable that all of the new cities being served from Charleston are generally outside the drive-to market, lending to a push to expand air travel to areas just beyond the daily reach by automobile and showing demand from travelers eager to reach the Holy City quicker.

Airport CEO Paul Campbell projects the number of ticket holders will rise about 10 percent this year. Last year, the terminal shepherded 3.9 million passengers arriving and departing.

The airport lost nearly 30,000 passengers during the wintry shutdown in January, but it's expected to make up the loss through the additional flights and general increase in travel. For the year through February, the number of ticket holders coming and going is down 1.1 percent.

Last year, 6.9 million people visited Charleston, many of them by air. 

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.