Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010 | 9:22 a.m.
A partnership between Reno’s Peppermill Resorts and Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air will result in charter flights to Wendover on the Nevada-Utah border.
The companies announced Tuesday that Allegiant would shuttle customers from small cities throughout the United States to Wendover beginning March 1.
Wendover is the closest population center to the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in western Utah and is the home of three Peppermill resorts, Montego Bay, Rainbow and Peppermill. The company’s flagship property is the Peppermill in Reno.
Beginning in March, Allegiant will base one of its 150-passenger MD-80 jets at Wendover Airport on the Utah side of the border.
“We’re pleased to establish a new partnership with the Peppermill Resorts,” Allegiant President Andrew Levy, said in a release announcing the deal. “We are confident Peppermill customers will be pleased with the level of service and reliability our company will provide.”
“The Peppermill Resorts at Wendover are pleased to partner with Allegiant in providing flight packages,” added John W. Spillman, marketing director for Peppermill Resorts at Wendover. “We are excited to work with a company which shares many of the same core values with us and look forward to the name brand recognition that Allegiant will provide to our program.”
The company also has a Southern Nevada presence with its Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge on the Las Vegas Strip and the Rainbow Club in Henderson’s Water Street area.
Allegiant expects to generate more than $20 million in revenue over the life of the three-year contract. Allegiant officials said other charter and scheduled services will be unaffected by the agreement and that in accordance with industry practices, Peppermill would bear the fuel risk for Allegiant flights performed under the agreement. Either side can cancel the deal early.
Peppermill has had a flight program to bring customers to its Wendover casinos for six years and Allegiant will be taking over a contract currently operated by Boise, Idaho-based Xtra Airways, which flies Boeing 737 jets to the airport.
Xtra currently has a charter schedule that includes more than 60 cities, including Milwaukee; Albuquerque; Medford, Ore.; Fresno, Calif.; El Paso, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colo.
The deal is expected to be an economic boon to Wendover, since Allegiant will establish a base there with more than 20 employees, including maintenance, flight crews and station personnel.
Wendover Airport has historical significance. As Wendover Army Air Base in the 1940s, the facility was the training location for B-29 bomber flight crews, including the group that delivered the atomic bomb that led to the end of World War II. The “Enola Gay” B-29 hangar still stands at that airport.