Economic Development, Real Estate, and Travel & Tourism

Airline forming $42M base at Ford airport

January 15, 2019
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GRFIA
Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Courtesy Experience Grand Rapids

An airline is establishing a $42.8-million base at Gerald R. Ford International Airport and creating 66 jobs in the process.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company said today it will house two Airbus aircrafts at the Gerald R. Ford Airport, beginning June 4.

Brian Picardat, interim president and CEO of Ford airport, said the airport has existing property and buildings the airline can use for its operations.

Hilarie Grey, the Allegiant’s director of corporate communications, said there will be no construction needed.

The funds will go toward establishing operations, including airplane maintenance tools and first-year salaries for immediate hiring for the jobs, including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and ground personnel to support the operations.

A majority of the new positions are expected to pay more than double the Michigan average wage.

The base at Ford airport will be the airline’s 16th base.

Allegiant flies to seven non-stop destinations from Ford airport, including five in Florida, one in Arizona and one in Las Vegas.

The airline announced two more routes today to begin in June: from Grand Rapids to Nashville, Tennessee and to Savannah, Georgia.

Allegiant began operating at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in 2009 and now carries more than 300,000 passengers through Grand Rapids annually.

Grey said the decision will allow Allegiant to expand its service to and from the city and more easily offer new routes in the future.

“Allegiant’s decision to open a base at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is a big win for the region and will have a ripple effect through our economy beyond the initial jobs and investment,” said Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place and a board member of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority. 

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation approved a $200,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for the project.

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