All aboard for the Badlands. Starting Nov. 21, Valley passengers will be able to fly nonstop from Mesa’s Williams Gateway Airport to Rapid City, S.D.
And if they make reservations soon, they can hop a 130-passenger jet for $69 each way.
Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air, which has established a hub at the East Valley airport, said Monday it is taking reservations to and from its second Mesa destination.
The first, Chicago Rockford International Airport, was announced Thursday.
Round-trip flights between Mesa and Rapid City will be scheduled on Wednesdays and Saturdays, said Allegiant spokeswoman Tyri Squyres.
Passengers can make reservations on the airline’s Web site at www.allegiantair.com or through the reservations center at (702) 505-8888.
The cold-climate crowd is expected to boost East Valley tourism in winter, and the tourist treasures in South Dakota will give local people a place to vacation in summer, said Patrick Oakley, Williams Gateway spokesman.
“The Badlands, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore — I think both places offer great attractions,” he said.
Allegiant is working with 20 local hotels and resorts, including inns in Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe, to put together vacation packages, Squyres said.
The airline picked Rapid City as the second of 13 destinations planned for Williams Gateway service because an existing route between the South Dakota airport and Las Vegas has been popular, Squyres said.
Also, there are no nonstop flights to the Valley from that region, she said.
“The Rapid City Regional Airport is thrilled to have low-cost, nonstop service to Phoenix-Mesa,” Mason Short, the airport’s executive director, said in a statement.
“Phoenix is the fourth most popular market at the airport, and this direct flight will make it even more popular.
The traveling public of the Black Hills region has saved over $1 million in airfares to Vegas since Allegiant has started. We’re looking forward to the same results from this market as well.”
Squyres said that since the Chicago Rockford Allegiant route was announced Thursday, flights to and from the north Illinois airport are getting booked fast.