Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air is the first US airline to report positive capacity growth for a full quarter compared to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels of traffic, posting a 3% increase compared to 2019 in the first quarter.
That fell roughly in the middle of previous projections of an increase of 0.5% to 5.5% in capacity in the first quarter compared to 2019.
Allegiant’s bookings are nearly back to 2019 levels, the leisure focused ULCC reported. The company’s chief marketing officer Scott DeAngelo recently told analysts and investors that the volume of flight searches on Allegiant’s website continues to outpace 2019 levels, “especially for mid-to-late summer months, suggesting additional waves of leisure travel demand are continuing to enter the market, and are searching for travel time periods they are most comfortable with.”
Allegiant is projecting capacity growth in the second quarter of 2% to to 6% compared to 2019 levels. During the back half of 2021, the airline said it could possibly fly 20% more capacity than 2019.
The airline had a fleet of 100 Airbus A320 family aircraft at the end of the first quarter, and expects to end the the year with 108 aircraft. Its fleet of 186-seat A320s will increase from 39 to 54, and its fleet of 177-seat A320s will fall from 26 to 19. Allegiant’s fleet of 156-seat A319s will remain stable at 35 aircraft. During the first quarter, Allegiant inducted three used Airbus narrowbodies at “an average all in price at $16.5 million per tail,” CFO Gregory Anderson said.
By the end of 2024, Allegiant expects its fleet to expand to 145 aircraft.
Photo credit: Joe Pries