UPDATE: Allegiant Air confirmed Wednesday morning the new flight from McAllen Miller International to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The service begins May 24.

Allegiant will offer departures on Sunday and Thursday for the LAX flights. The departing flights will leave at 12:15 p.m. and arrive in Los Angeles at 1:30 p.m. (local times). The return flights leave LAX at 6:35 a.m. and arrive back in McAllen at 11:35 a.m.

With the addition of the LA flights, Allegiant will operate 10 flights per week out of McAllen for the summer months with five flights per week to Las Vegas and three to Orlando Sanford.

According to the schedule on the airline Web site, in June Allegiant will shift its Sunday Las Vegas flight to Saturdays. The Las Vegas flights will operate Monday, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The will boost its Orlando service in June from the current Sunday and Thursday flights with the addition of a Saturday flight.

Allegiant announced an introductory $99 fare for tickets purchased by March 11.

McAllen area residents are still taking vacations.

Allegiant Air, based on the success of their flights to Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla., will announce a new vacation destination for McAllen Miller International Airport today. The airline has been running a promotion for the public to guess the new destination on their Web site. Those with a correct guess will be entered in a contest two win two round-trip tickets to one of Allegiant’s destinations from McAllen.

Many posters to air travel discussion boards on the Internet believe the new destination will be in the Los Angeles area. The Web site CrankyFlier.com also confirmed last week that the destination would be LAX (Los Angeles International Airport).

The only clue the airline would give is that it will be a “sun destination.” (Check valleytowncrier.com for confirmation of the new destination and the flight schedule.)

Allegiant has had success with their McAllen to Las Vegas flights since they began several years ago. In fact, initial bookings were so strong the airline increased the flight frequency from twice a week to four times per week before service even began.

Currently, the airline offers service to five to six flights per week to Vegas. The Orlando Sanford flights, which were initially offered seasonally, are now operating twice a week, year round.

“McAllen continues to be an outstanding market for Allegiant,” said Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., the airline’s president and CEO. “We are confident this new sunny destination will have great appeal.”

For the year 2008, Allegiant posted an increase of 10 percent in passengers boarded over the previous year. The airline boarded 39,425 passengers in 2008 and 35,927 passengers in 2007.

McAllen’s other airlines saw a slight increase in boardings for 2008. Continental Airlines was down 7 percent with 209,672 boardings in ’08 compared to 226,478. American Airlines was down 2 percent with 134,181 boardings in ’08 and 136,398 boardings in ’07.

Continental had 12 percent fewer flights last year than the previous year, while American’s schedule was basically unchanged.