SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Those arriving to McAllen by air travel now have greater access to reaching the Rio Grande Valley’s southernmost beach destination.

The City of McAllen and City of South Padre Island held an inauguration ceremony on Friday on the Island in celebration of the launch of the McAllen International Airport’s (MFE) new shuttle service.

The “MFE Destination Connect” is a free luxury shuttle service made exclusively available to MFE travelers and was designed to help them reach their destination to the Island.

“It’s great to help connect us with our friends from Monterrey and Mexico City. They can be on a plane and 90 minutes later be here on the Island,” South Padre Island Mayor Pro-Tem Joe Ricco said. “This is awesome. We’re very excited about this.”

The courtesy shuttle service encompasses airport pick-up, direct transfers to the Island and transfers back to McAllen International Airport on designated days and times.

Shuttle services will be available on-demand and walkup at listed scheduled times.

“We’ve tried to make it as simple as possible. If you’re flying into McAllen, the shuttle is going to be available twice a day on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays,” City of McAllen Director of Aviation Liz Suarez said.

“We’ve programmed the shuttle so that we can maximize all of our arrivals and departures.”

Suarez said after promoting the airport’s new international routes, they received a lot of requests from travelers who wanted to know how they could get to the Island after visiting McAllen.

“As airports, we’re getting used to a customer that does expect not just the air connection, but a complete opportunity to really visit a destination, take care of business and take care of some leisure,” Suarez said. “We thought this was a great fit and we’re really excited to be able to promote it.”

McAllen city officials said projects, such as the new shuttle service, are a small taste of what happens when a region comes together.

“For us to make this connection between what I call the two powerhouses of the Rio Grande Valley should be a given,” McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez said. “We brag a lot about McAllen. We love our city, but we also understand the importance of South Padre Island to our region and these two ends of the Valley can work together. To do something like this, there is no end to the success that we can see in the future.”

A 24/7 phone line will be available to take reservations and respond to customers’ inquiries by calling (956) 558-8579.