Manhattan airport to begin offering twice-weekly flights

By Corene Brisendine

Manhattan Regional Airport announced Tuesday it has signed an agreement with Allegiant air service to provide twice-weekly flights to Phoenix.

The new flights will begin Nov. 7, but for the next two days passengers can enjoy an introductory rate of $99 round-trip. But if that is too soon to book a flight, the airline will also offering a one-way ticket price of $59 until Aug. 27. Trips will leave on Thursdays and Sundays from MHK.

The new flights will be on an Airbus-19, which can hold up to 156 passengers and is a quieter plane than their standard planes, which are MD-17s, said Allegiant Representative Thayne Klingler in a press conference Tuesday morning at the airport.

Klingler said the company decided to bring the Phoenix flights to Manhattan because the city has the right demographics. In addition, the company is looking to expand its medium sized market and has had its eye on Manhattan for some time.

Mayor John Matta said he personally likes the flight because he lived in the Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz., area previously. As for Manhattan, he said the strong partnerships with Kansas State University, Fort Riley and — soon — NBAF should make Arizona a must-see destination.

“If you haven’t been there, it’s a great place to go,” Matta said. “Although, I believe a lot of you have been there because there have been a number of bowl games there.”

Karen Hibbard, vice president of the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Manhattan has about 62,000 visitors a year coming through the airport.

Peter Van Kuren, director of the airport, said these new flights should bring about 15,000 more passengers to Manhattan annually. In addition, if the flights perform as well as expected, Allegiant may offer flights to more cities that are on Manhattan’s top-five destinations wish list. Van Kuren said those cities include Washington D.C.; Orlando, Fla.; and New York. Until now, Phoenix was also on that list.

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