Allegiant Air plans to open its 20th operations base—in Des Moines, Iowa—to enable it to add routes from that destination, which it says has been “a highly successful station for us over the years, with steady growth.” It has not announced the new routes or frequencies, but the base is scheduled to open May 14, 2020.

Las Vegas-based LCC Allegiant currently flies eight nonstop routes and carried 232,000 passengers through Des Moines last year. “There is a great deal of demand for flights from Des Moines to warmer vacation destinations, which is Allegiant’s hallmark,” an airline spokesperson said.

The new base will be home to two Airbus A320s and about 66 crew, including 35 flight attendants, 20 pilots and 11 maintenance technicians and ground support staff.

Because Allegiant flies “an out-and-back system of all nonstop flights,” opposed to the hub and spoke system, basing two A320s and staff there allows it to start operating from Des Moines earlier in the morning and end later at night.

It also means these two aircraft return to Des Moines nightly so routine maintenance can be performed overnight before the first flight of the next day.

Allegiant is investing $50 million to launch the Des Moines base. That figure includes purchasing the two A320s and related tooling and equipment, as well as training and first-year salaries, according to the spokesperson.

Lee Ann Shay, leeann.shay@aviationweek.com