Seasonal flights between Savannah, Georgia and Charlotte County will start in June.

Starting June 6, travelers from Punta Gorda Airport will be able to fly directly to Savannah, Georgia, for quick access to the historic city and nearby Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.


Allegiant Air on Tuesday announced nonstop seasonal service between Punta Gorda Airport and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport starting in June. Allegiant, a low-cost carrier, is offering introductory fares of as low as $44 one way.


The flight will operate twice a week, according to Punta Gorda Airport.


"Adding Savannah to Allegiant’s growing list routes at PGD is exciting news our local community," airport CEO James W. Parish said. "It will be a convenient route for both southwest Floridians and Georgians to explore each area’s coastal beaches, outdoor activities and historic communities."


Savannah and the Hilton Head area are predominately driving markets for Charlotte County, said Wendie Vestfall, tourism director at the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau.


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The new flight will allow potential visitors to cut down their travel time significantly so they can spend more time in the destination, Vestfall said. Also, the timing is good because the Allegiant Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor is underway, she said.


"It also opens up a business market. Lots of businesses are looking for convention centers and other spots to have meetings. Where they might have not considered us before because we were a nine-hour drive, (the flight) opens us up to a new set of eyes," she said.


Savannah hasn’t been a top feeder market for Charlotte County, Vestfall said, but it has the potential to grow with the new flight.


"We're huge in the northeast corridor — Boston and Philly — and we also pull a lot from the Midwest — Cleveland, Indianapolis and the Pittsburgh area, too. We have seen a direct correlation from those with flights from Allegiant," Vestfall said.


She wouldn’t say for sure whether the visitors bureau will increase its advertising spend in the Savannah/Hilton Head area because of the new flight, but she did say that is something they’ll be taking a look at.


Allegiant is the sole carrier at Punta Gorda Airport. Last August, the airline announced five new seasonal routes — Elmira, New York; Charleston, South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; Memphis, Tennessee and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Those flights began late last year.