Elite Airways may be adding more new scheduled service after just recently announcing their first set of scheduled flights earlier this week. The additional services, if approved would be new routes from Phoenix-Mesa (AZA) to San Diego (SAN) and Salt Lake City (SLC) starting on September 1st, 2015. The service would be a CRJ-200 or a CRJ-700 plane. Elite is providing these new routes thanks to a subsidy provided by the Phoenix-Mesa Airport for these specific destinations. The subsidy would provide guarantees for the flights and would assist with marketing and advertising efforts.
Currently Allegiant Air is the only scheduled carrier to regularly serve Phoenix-Mesa Airport and has built a very solid operation their. With that being said Allegiant is not too happy with a potential competitor entering the Phoenix-Mesa Airport and does not agree with subsidy package for new services. The subsidy was specific for San Diego and Salt Lake City services. Allegiant could have qualified for this subsidy but it is not their typical model to serve medium to large sized airports. But, that is changing with their new services from Indianapolis and Cincinnati as examples. To further the issue Allegiant does provide services from Provo and Ogden which both serve the Greater Salt Lake City area. This has caused Allegiant to threaten to leave AZA as soon as February 2016. They could potentially move their operation over to the more expensive Phoenix (PHX) Airport but that goes against their model.
Elite has also stated that they could potentially make AZA into a hub operation if the flights are successful. While I have my doubts, it would be great to see a new airline take root somewhere. I believe Allegiant is just bluffing in order to swing some things their way.