An ongoing Web survey that asks people where they’d like to fly to from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport has garnered more than 10,000 voters so far.
And several thousand of the voters each want a bunch of options for a getaway from Gateway.
Nearly 4,000 want a direct flight to Las Vegas. More than 3,000 want to jet directly from east Mesa to San Diego. And more than 2,000 want to land in Honolulu.
Most of the Valley folks voicing a choice — 65 percent — live in the East Valley. Nearly half — 45 percent — of the out-of-state voters hoping for a direct flight to Mesa are from the Midwest.
Just because people want a destination, it doesn’t mean an airline will fly there, said Brian Sexton, airport spokesman.
But the big numbers of people signing up to have a say proves Gateway is a viable hub for air service, he said.
“This will go a long way in convincing an airline to break into this market,” Sexton said. “It demonstrates the public supports passenger service from Gateway. This community is hungry for air service.”
Sexton admits it’s highly unlikely any airline will start up new Mesa service while the economy is in such a bad state. But the ongoing survey will provide a big selling point when the U.S. financial scenario improves, he said.
And in the meantime, the thousands of would-be passengers might convince Gateway’s biggest service provider Allegiant Air to add a new Mesa destinations to its route map.
The local airport is fortunate to have one of only two U.S. airlines still in expansion mode during the downturn, he said. Besides Allegiant, Southwest Airlines is the only carrier adding instead of subtracting capacity.
“We don’t anticipate any new carriers coming here in the short term,” Sexton said. “But we have high hopes for Allegiant as they expand into new markets around the nation.”
Top 10 Destinations in Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport’s “We Need You” Survey, which asks people to say where they’d like to fly to. As of July 15, 10,318 people voted. Voters were able to choose as many destinations as they would like.
Destination, number of votes
Las Vegas, 3,975
San Diego, 3,225
Los Angeles, 2,814
Chicago O’Hare, 1,936
San Francisco, 1,886
New York — JFK, 1,344
Burbank, Calif., 1,138