Take a look at this invitation from the Central Nebraska Regional Airport in Grand Island.Airport Improvement Program. For small airports, that can fund up to 95 percent of the cost of an improvement project. If they have fewer than 10,000 enplanements, they only get $150,000.
For most small commercial airports, they only see a few flights on small planes by essential air service carriers and that's rarely enough to meet the threshold. For example, in the first half of 2008, Air Midwest flew only 3,204 passengers out of Central Nebraska. This year, Great Lakes has the contract, but it still wouldn't push the airport to more than 10,000 enplanements even though that only requires 28 enplanements per day and they fly three times daily.
So when Allegiant comes along, the impact can be dramatic. Central Nebraska wouldn't have qualified without Allegiant and they wouldn't have had a chance of attracting any other carrier at this point. Now with Allegiant, they're passing 10,000 before the summer is over.