"Elvis has left the building, but we still have Allegiant service," Airport Director Mike Olson said.
The air carrier took a chance on the Central Nebraska Regional Airport at a low point.
Olson said, "To go from the summer of 2008 where we had no air service to serving over 56,000 people this past year, and on our way close to 60,000 this year. We're thrilled."
That's a milestone worth celebrating. Nearly 130,000 passengers have used the service.
Plus Grand Island added leisure flights to Phoenix–Mesa and daily jet service to Dallas on American.
Olson said, "None of this would have been possible without Allegiant and then subsequently American Eagle as well."
It's also a boost for a North Platte business. Trego–Dugan Aviation runs the fuel and private plane terminal in Grand Island and five years ago approached Allegiant.
Gary Trego said, "They needed somebody to do their baggage handling, we asked if they'd give us a try, which they did and it mushroomed. We're doing 17 stations across the country from Oregon to New York and we've got 300 employees."
Allegiant has found success in mid–size cities like Grand Island where people dream of that Vegas vacation.
"They offer a service to different communities and their niche has really worked for them across the country," Trego said.
Grand Island's been a model for other airports, because of the way Trego–Dugan handles baggage and ticketing, along with an aggressive airport board that continues to push for more flights, possibly to Orlando.
"It's all very positive," Gary Trego said.
The airport that didn't have any airlines five years ago is adding hundreds of parking stalls with plans for a multi–million dollar new terminal in 2015.
Olson said, "It's a great time to be in GI and certainly a great time to be at airport."
He said the airport serves people within a 150 mile radius. They're also adding on to the runway, which could accommodate larger planes and bigger planes could mean more destinations.