Allegiant Airlines launched its base of operations at Des Moines International Airport today, the culmination of a plan first announced in 2019. It is Allegiant’s 20th base of operations and the first to open post-pandemic, according to a news release. The plan was delayed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and as demand dropped as the effects of the pandemic's spread. The $50 million investment will locate two Airbus A320 planes in Des Moines, and bring at least 66 new jobs to the airport, including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and ground personnel. Kevin Foley, executive director of the Des Moines Airport Authority, said the location of Allegiant’s base of operations in Des Moines “will positively impact the lives of Iowans in air service offerings and in supporting the economic vitality of the region.” Allegiant, which began service at the airport in 2003, will also launch service to Houston, Texas, Portland, Ore., and San Diego, Calif. Earlier, the airline announced service to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., beginning in October, bringing to 14 the number of nonstop routes it offers from Des Moines. “Having locally based crews and aircraft will expand options for new routes and affordable, convenient opportunities for nonstop travel for Iowans, and for visitors to the state -- and will fuel our growth in Des Moines well into the future,” Drew Wells, Allegiant’s vice president of revenue and planning, said in the release.