Allegiant Air, the only airline at Punta Gorda Airport, furloughs 100 pilots

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:
Punta Gorda Airport (Credit: WINK News)

“There are not many people traveling right now because of the restrictions,” said Daniel Bonenberger of Harbour Heights.

That’s the case for travelers all over the U.S.

“We didn’t have a reason to fly, but now we do,” said John Unnerstal from Venice.

The reason — for mass layoffs across the airline industry. The latest victims: Allegiant Air pilots.

“I don’t like layoffs at all, but things are pretty rough right now,” said Randell Pyles of Fort Myers.

Allegiant blames the pandemic. The budget-savvy airline reports it lost $93 million from April to June.

It furloughed 100 pilots last week, about 10% of its pilots company-wide. They say flight attendants are safe for now.

“I understand why they are doing it,” Unnerstall said. “It’s about making money, and they have to make money.”

Allegiant is the only airline here at the Punta Gorda airport. Charlotte County says Allegiant’s impact here is huge, but doesn’t think the loss of 100 pilots will be bigger than the pandemic’s impact earlier this year.

“I think Allegiant will come back,” Bonenberger said. “Not in a year, but maybe two years.”

Allegiant may have to change its flight schedules. Still, the airline predicts little impact on the airport and our community.

“I think everything will get better. I think the economy is going to boom; it’s going to grow more,” said Unnerstall.

Ready to bounce back and soar higher than ever before.

The airport says it hasn’t felt the impact of the furloughs and haven’t received any complaints from passengers.

The county says its tourism numbers were actually up in June and July compared to 2019.

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