DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Once deemed the fastest growing airport in the nation, Destin-Fort Walton Beach (VPS) officially opened a dedicated Allegiant Air terminal in the newly constructed C concourse.

The $11.4 million project has been underway since 2019. Monday, County Commissioners and city leaders in Okaloosa County joined for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We are blessed to live in a paradise that millions of people visit each year,” said airport director Tracey Stage. “No other airline has invested in our community like Allegiant has. In fact, no airline in the 65-year history of VPS has made the level of commitment like Allegiant has.”

The concourse has been open for travelers amidst ongoing construction in 2022. Staff worked out some early kinks with the new gates and increased TSA staffing measures for the facility.

The 5-gate concourse C sits to the west of the current terminals. VPS said Allegiant has been operating out of Okaloosa County for 6 years, now serving 35 direct destinations.

“In the past five years, over 9.3 million passengers have traveled through VPS,” said Stage. “2.6 million or 27% of the total passenger count is from Allegiant Air.”

The airline said the cost of construction and manpower stayed low for the projec. In turn, keeping fares for passengers the same.

“When we bring people to Destin, we want them to be able to get here with enough money in their pocket so they can go enjoy all the things that you’ve built for them here,” said Ken Hansen, SVP of Allegiant Airlines.

History of Allegiant Airlines expansion at VPS:

Allegiant began service out of St. Louis and Cincinnati to VPS in 2016. The airline announced an expansion in 2018 to make Destin its new operating hub, adding 65 new jobs and a $49 million investment.

Beginning in 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic halted the approved five-gate terminal expansion. A rebid for the project came through after millions of visitors flocked to Okaloosa County, and construction was underway.

“The team succeeded through many challenges from material shortages to delays, labor crisis that still exists today,” said Stage.

“You’ve got something here that is incredible special,” said Hensen. “When people come to Destin they feel it, they know where they are.”

You can see all routes and flights out of VPS online.

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