by Michael Lowrey
The airline announced yesterday that it is starting twice-a-week service from Concord to St. Petersburg, FL beginning in November. But that’s only part of the story. Recall that last year the city filed a request for a federal Small Community Air Service Development to help promote possible Allegiant service from Concord to Orlando Sanford International Airport. Soon thereafter and before the U.S. Department of Transportation had handed out SCASD grant money for the year, Allegiant announced it was starting service on the route. Unsurprising, the DOT turned down Concord’s grant request.
The same thing happen this year — Concord filed a SCASD grant request a few weeks ago, this time seeing $250,000 in federal money to help promote Allegiant service on possible new routes to Florida like, well, St. Petersburg and then Allegiant announces the route before the feds can act. The SCASD application also mentions Ft. Lauderdale and Punta Gorda (somewhat near Ft. Myers) as destinations in Florida the airport is targeting for additional Allegiant service. Allegiant provided a letter supporting the grant request and specifically references the possibility of service to St. Patersburg and Ft. Lauderdale. Punta Gorda isn’t mentioned. The odds of Concord now getting its grant approved are infinitesimal.
(I’ll post the Charlotte Douglas International Airport-related SCASD grant requests later today.)
Bonus observation: Cabarrus County absolutely should not have a representative on the board that oversees (depending upon what the courts decide) Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The county is part of the public-private partnership backing the grant requests, creating an inherent conflict of interests.