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Allegiant canceling flights, assessing hurricane damage to Florida resort

Allegiant Travel Co. is “assessing the damage” at its under-construction resort in southwest Florida and canceling flights through Monday at an airport there, after Hurricane Ian devastated the region.

The Las Vegas-based airline canceled all flights in and out of Punta Gorda Airport through Monday and “will continue to assess the situation on the ground there and make adjustments as necessary,” spokeswoman Sonya Padgett told the Review-Journal on Friday.

“Air travel is a critical function during a crisis such as this, so we are working closely with Punta Gorda Airport authorities to resume service as quickly as possible,” she said.

Padgett also said the company doesn’t have “an update to provide right now” on its Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor project, “as we have just begun assessing the damage and expect to know more in the coming weeks.”

Later on Friday, Allegiant announced a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief.

Gregory Anderson, Allegiant’s president and chief financial officer, said in a news release Thursday that the company had been preparing for the hurricane over the past several days.

It gave customers “re-accommodations at no charge, including refunds to give them time to adjust travel plans.” It also “repositioned aircraft out of the Florida area” and provided options for employees, their families, and pets “to find shelter in other bases.”

He also said the Sunseeker teams had “worked around the clock to help safeguard the resort.”

Sunseeker is slated to feature 500 hotel rooms and more than 180 extended-stay suites, as well as bars, restaurants and conference space.

It is being built along the Peace River in Port Charlotte, Florida. Drone video taken Thursday in Port Charlotte, and available on The Washington Post’s website, showed flooded residential streets and damaged homes after the hurricane hit.

The storm flooded a Port Charlotte hospital’s lower-level emergency room, and fierce winds tore part of the roof from its intensive-care unit, The Associated Press reported.

The hurricane made landfall in South Carolina on Friday, after it left at least 25 people dead in Florida, CNN reported.

Allegiant broke ground on Sunseeker in 2019, suspended construction in March 2020 amid the early chaos of the pandemic, and resumed construction in summer 2021.

As of this August, Sunseeker was expected to open in the second quarter of 2023.

Allegiant, an ultra-low-cost carrier, is known for flying from small, underserved cities to warm-weather vacation spots, often without competition on its routes.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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