Allegiant promo shot

Allegiant Airlines will start offering round-trip service from Idaho Falls to Portland, Oregon, in May.

A direct flight to Portland, Oregon, will be taking off from the Idaho Falls Regional Airport this summer.

Allegiant Airlines announced the direct flights between the two cities Tuesday morning. The flights will operate twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, beginning May 28 and going through Aug. 16.

Allegiant added direct flights between Idaho Falls and San Diego during the summer of 2020. The Nevada-based airline also announced four new routes traveling to the Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming on Tuesday — departing from Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada.

The new flights are banking on a return to higher passenger demand over the next year. Boarding numbers at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport during 2020 were at 60% of the level they’d been at during the previous year, when the airport reported a record high volume of passengers.

Airport executive director Rick Cloutier said that Idaho Falls had fared better than the national average of 41% of passenger demand. The airport had approached normal levels of use around Thanksgiving and Christmas before declining again over the last few days.

“We hope to continue to recover passengers and adding this destination will help with that recovery. This is giving us more connectivity in the region and more options for the community,” Cloutier said.

Progress is continuing on the Idaho Falls Regional Airport’s $12 million expansion and renovation of the terminal. Construction was finished on a new security checkpoint late last year and the TSA is moving equipment to open the new area by the end of January. Soon after that, the airport will open the downstairs gates for flights and begin renovations on the upstairs gates.

Cloutier said that all five gates at the airport should be open by July 1.

“As people become more vaccinated and more comfortable with traveling, we’ll be ready for the rebound,” Cloutier said.

Brennen is the main education reporter for the Post Register. Contact him with news tips at 208-542-6711.