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Allegiant Airlines announces expansion

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Updated: 8/20/2013 3:52 pm
(NBC News) Consumers looking for a low cost get away will soon have some new options.

Allegiant Air announced a major expansion Tuesday that will allow it to serve more U.S. airports than any other low cost carrier, including Southwest.

Allegiant is expanding to ten new cities with an emphasis on East Coast travel to Florida.

The Las Vegas based airline is known for flying passengers from smaller under-served cities to sunny destinations, often at lower base fares on non-stop flights.

"It's good news in the sense there is more airline service at affordable prices for consumers," says Charlie Leocha of the Consumer Travel Alliance.

Allegiant only grabs a sliver the industry's yearly passengers, but airline representatives say its expansion indicates the industry can handle more consolidation.

"The airline industry remains hyper competitive, and that's good news for the consumer because its meant more routes, affordable fares, more destinations, better product," says Jean Medina of Airlines for America, an industry trade group.

Last week concerns about competition prompted a federal lawsuit to stop the merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways.

Allegiant's CEO sees consolidation as opportunity.

"Routes get eliminated and there is less service in small cities, and that opens up opportunities for us," explains CEO Andrew Levy.

Allegiant says it will begin phasing in these news flights starting in October.

Typically, Allegiant only offers its flights a couple times a week, not daily like many competitors.

-- Danielle Leigh, NBC News, reports.
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