Allegiant Air expanding with flights to more cities

An Allegiant Air jet takes off from McCarran International Airport on Friday, Aug. 26, 2011.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air is adding 18 new routes later this year, including 10 cities new to the airline’s map, and said it will serve more cities than any other low-cost carrier.

None of the new routes are to or from McCarran International Airport.

In adding its 99th U.S. city to the system, Allegiant will focus on the New York City area, where the airline will fly from Elmira, Stewart and Syracuse, N.Y., to the Tampa Bay area’s St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, and from Islip, N.Y., on Long Island to Punta Gorda Airport in southwestern Florida.

Allegiant also is adding flights to Orlando’s Sanford International Airport and to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Arizona.

New flights begin in October, November and December.

The announcement comes at a time when Allegiant is shedding seasonal service in Las Vegas and has fallen below the number of flights offered by its biggest low-cost rival, Miramar, Fla.-based Spirit Airlines.

According to McCarran, Spirit now has 158 Las Vegas flights a week compared with Allegiant’s 137.