Pictured at the launch of  Allegiant Air's Brownsville/SPI to Las Vegas flights are South Padre Island Mayor Barry Patel, Las Vegas showgirl Jennifer Johnson, and Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez.
Pictured at the launch of Allegiant Air’s Brownsville/SPI-to-Las Vegas flights are South Padre Island Mayor Barry Patel, Las Vegas showgirl Jennifer Johnson, and Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez.

BROWNSVILLE, RGV – Allegiant Air’s decision to start non-stop flights between Brownsville-South Padre Island and Las Vegas is “a great win-win situation,” says Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez.

“People like going to Las Vegas, a lot of people from Mexico like to go to Las Vegas. A lot of times people say, I don’t like to go there because I have to go through Houston or Dallas, etc. Now, they will have a direct flight,” Martinez told the Rio Grande Guardian.

“I suspect a lot of folks haven’t thought about it but I suspect there are a lot of folks in Las Vegas that would like to come to Brownsville and South Padre Island. So, I think it is going to be a great win-win situation. I think we will get a chance to promote Brownsville and South Padre Island in Las Vegas as well as Las Vegas touting our city and beaches. That is what I am looking forward to.”

Allegiant is a low-cost carrier that targets leisure travelers. Jude Bricker, the company’s vice president of planning, said the Brownsville-Las Vegas service will run Thursdays and Sundays. “We’re excited to be debuting in Brownsville and connecting travelers to the Entertainment Capital of the World. We’re proud to be offering the only nonstop travel option to Vegas in Cameron County, and we believe that travelers will appreciate our brand of low-cost airfare.”

Asked who he would like to thank for making the service happen, Mayor Martinez said: “Larry Brown, our director of aviation. He is always asking us, Why Brownsville? His energy and devotion and his promotion is beyond compare. Between and his staff and all the people at the EDC, everybody has pulled together. We really have a team going in Brownsville right now.”

An airport has been operating in Brownsville for 86 years. It started with Pan American Airways beginning a service using Ford Tri-Motors and creating the name Brownsville-Pan American Municipal Airport.

Martinez said he can remember the days of Trans Texas Airways. “We missed an awful lot of opportunities along the way. We had an opportunity in the city to get Southwest Airlines and we did not really know how to take advantage of it.” Asked if Brownsville “blew it,” Martinez said: “I would say we did not take care of business. That is one of the most important things one can do – to make sure that when the opportunity arises, that you seize the moment. They say temptation knocks often, opportunity only once.”

Martinez added: “These are good times for the Valley, these are good times for Brownsville and these are good times for South Padre Island. Enjoy it, be part of it and let’s keep moving forward.”

In addition to Allegiant, United Airlines offers non-stop flights to Houston out of Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport, while American Airlines offers non-stop flights to Dallas-Fort Worth. A free shuttle is provided from the airport to South Padre Island.