US low-cost carrier Allegiant Air is to introduce flights to New Orleans with three seasonal and one year-round route to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport launching next year. The airline will introduce seasonal flights from Cincinnati, Columbus and Indianapolis, and a year-round service from Orlando, in early February 2015, just in time for travellers to celebrate Mardi Gras.
Allegiant Air will introduce flights between New Orleans and Cincinnati’s Northern Kentucky International Airport from February 4, 2015 and Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Indianapolis International Airport and Orlando’s Sanford International Airport from February 5, 2015.
The Cincinnati and Indianapolis routes will operate through May 5, 2015, the Columbus link to April 8, 2015, while the Orlando flight is currently bookable through to August 17, 2015. All four routes will be operated on a twice weekly basis.
“We are very excited to announce New Orleans as our newest destination city and to offer Allegiant travellers the option of vacationing in New Orleans for less,” said Jude Bricker, senior vice president of planning, Allegiant Travel Company. “Over 75 percent of New Orleans visitors are here for vacation, making the city a perfect fit for Allegiant’s brand of low-cost leisure travel.”
Allegiant brings with it a unique travel option to the New Orleans community. Focusing on low-cost leisure travel, the company provides customers with low base fares averaging nearly half of the cost of the average domestic round-trip fare. The innovative business model has allowed the company to grow from one aircraft and one route just over a decade ago, to offering access to affordable service in over 90 communities nationwide.
“We have been in discussions with Allegiant Air since I came to New Orleans, and I am very pleased to announce our efforts have paid off,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, director of aviation, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
“This service creates new non-stop destinations for New Orleans and incremental tourism passengers who otherwise would not have had direct access to our great city. With ultra-low fares and non-stop, all-jet service, Allegiant provides a complete travel experience with great value,” he added.
Allegiant Air will face direct competition on one of its new routes to New Orleans and indirect competition on another. The Cincinnati market is currently already served by Delta Air Lines, while Southwest Airlines links New Orleans to Orlando, albeit to Orlando International Airport.
There have been no links between New Orleans and Columbus over the past ten years, while regular links to the Indianapolis market will be resumed for the first time since Southwest Airlines ended its own services on the route in September 2005, although AirTran Airways did offer a short season of weekly flights between February and April 2008.
In our analysis, below, we look at Allegiant Air’s network capacity development over the past ten years, a period it has grown at an average annual rate of 66.5 per cent. As the chart illustrates, the low-cost carrier saw rapid growth in 2006 and 2010 when year-on-year capacity grew 92.2 per cent and 158.4 per cent, respectively. After the peak of 2010 (which followed a notable decline in 2009), the rate of growth has stabilised at more sustainable levels with a 12.5 per cent growth being recorded for 2014, based on current published schedules.