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An airline passenger with her luggage walks past a bay of windows that overlook the tarmac at the Quad-City International Airport in Moline on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.

Andy Abeyta QUAD-CITY TIMES

Quad-City travelers headed for the warmth of southern and western Florida will have nonstop service again to Punta Gorda and access to the flights through the summer months, Quad-City International Airport officials said Monday.

After an 19-month hiatus, on Friday Allegiant will resume the direct, twice weekly service between Moline and Punta Gorda. Allegiant recently extended the seasonal service into August 2018. It marks the third schedule extension since Allegiant first announced plans in May to resume the service.

The flights serve travelers bound to Punta Gorda as well as the Cape Coral, Port Charlotte, Ft. Myers, Sanibel Island and Naples areas.

"Our Quad-Cities passengers have really embraced this route, and we're excited to add more opportunities to visit this beautiful area," said Lukas Johnson, Allegiant's senior vice president of commercial.

Cathie Rochau, the airport's marketing director, said the extended schedule is welcomed news to travelers who have found other flight alternatives since the flight ended in April 2016. She said many have sought service from other regional airports, including Cedar Rapids and Peoria.

"People who live there like to come back and forth," she said, adding, "Those folks who do go back frequently are looking for the best fare, it's just that kind of traveler."

Resuming the service also will aid the airport's passenger retention efforts, Rochau added.

"I'm very pleased to see this extension in our schedule between the Quad-Cities and the Fort Myers area," said Bruce Carter, the airport's aviation director. "I know our regional area travelers will be happy to hear this news as well, as they do ask about the flights outside of the seasonal time frame."

According to Rochau, the service is re-starting with strong passenger numbers as Allegiant also brings in new larger, 186-seat jets to provide the service. As of Monday, she said four of the first five flights are booked with about 140 passengers, and more passengers are booked for the Christmas Day flight.

Allegiant services five nonstop cities via the Quad-Cities, including Las Vegas and Phoenix-Mesa and two other Florida destinations, Orlando-Sanford and St. Petersburg/Clearwater.

For more information, visit allegiant.com. Travelers also may call 309-764-9621 for a list of local counter service hours prior.

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