Allegiant to grow strongly in Florida in Q1

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Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air expects to grow strongly out of Florida in the first quarter, with Orlando and St Petersburg to feature in that growth.

The airline expects scheduled capacity to grow by between 15% and 19% in the first quarter. Allegiant's president Andrew Levy said in an earnings call yesterday that Hawaii will experience the greatest increase in capacity year-on-year but noted that this was because the carrier had started service to Hawaii only in June 2012. Overall, Hawaii will represent only 8% of scheduled capacity, said Levy.

Capacity out of Orlando will grow by almost 28%, making it the second biggest growing market in the first quarter, he added. The Florida city will represent 21% of scheduled capacity in the first quarter. St Petersburg in Florida will also experience "sizable growth", said Levy.

"Along with our expanded base in Punta Gorda, we are placing a lot of bets on Florida," he added.

Allegiant will launch three new routes from Punta Gorda in southwest Florida from next month. Allegiant is the only scheduled airline serving Punta Gorda and already flies to several destinations from the airport.