Allegiant will suspend all flights from Gary/Chicago International Airport for six weeks starting Sept. 6 and resume flying to Orlando-Sanford International Airport on Oct. 18.
Allegiant is making similar cutbacks at almost half of the airports where it has flights to Orlando, Fla., in a move typical of the leisure-destination airline, said interim Airport Director Steve Landry.
"This is normal for Allegiant," Landry said. "It's just new to us because Allegiant is new to us. But they have been doing this for years at other airports."
Allegiant officials could not be reached for comment.
People still can book Allegiant flights between Gary and Orlando-Sanford starting Oct. 18 through April 14.
Landry said he expected the airline to contact all passengers who had booked flights from Sept. 6 through Oct. 14.
With students back in school and the cold weather still to come, Allegiant found reservations from Gary had sagged to such an extent that for the six-week period it was not profitable to fly, Landry said.
A check of Allegiant's online reservations website shows it suspended or cut back flights significantly in numerous cities with Orlando destinations through the next few months. For example, Appleton/Green Bay, Wis.-to-Orlando flights are curtailed for the same period and Duluth, Minn.-to-Orlando flights will not resume until Feb. 15.
Through June, Allegiant had taken reservations for 5,000 passengers flying from Gary to Orlando, Landry said. The airport remains confident it will book at total of 10,000 fliers for the year, he said.
When an airport flies 10,000 passengers on a regularly scheduled airline, it is eligible for $1 million in federal airport improvement funds. If it doesn't hit that threshold it gets only $150,000.
Allegiant began flying from the Gary airport to Orlando in February, becoming the first regularly scheduled airline at the airport in four years.