Allegiant Air offers 40 destinations from Vegas; load factors below 75% not tolerated

Image: Blue man group
Allegiant Air celebrates its partnership with the Blue Man Group; a deal whereby the airline offers in-flight ticket sales to the group’s show in Las Vegas.

Map: Allegiant routesDespite offering more non-stop destinations from Las Vegas than any other airline (Southwest excepted), Allegiant Air’s extensive network, involving some 40 cities, is offered at such low frequency (typically two to three weekly flights in winter and three to four weekly flights in summer) that the number of passengers the airline carries through the airport fails to rank it in the top five. However, during the first 11 months of 2009, Allegiant’s passenger numbers were up 7.8% at McCarran, while traffic for all carriers combined was down 8.7%. Because Allegiant has been growing rapidly at other bases, the share of the airline’s network that is based around Las Vegas has fallen from almost 70% in 2006 to around 30% in 2009. However, Fayetteville (XNA) was introduced as a new route in early June.

Image: Allegiant in Las Vegas
The Grand Rapids-Las Vegas route, which was launched with one way fares as low as $99, helped Allegiant’s passenger numbers at McCarran to grow by 7.8% during the first 11 months of 2009.

Bye bye Santa Barbara

Chart: Allegiant Air at Las Vegas Monthly load factors 2008-09
Source: BTS

Since May, load factors have been below the level of 2008 but are still consistently over 85%. Based on BTS data for the first 10 months of 2009, the routes with the best load factor were Grand Rapids (95.7%), Rockford (95.3%), Cedar Rapids (94.2%) and Shreveport (94.0%). The only routes that failed to average at least an 80% seat occupancy rate during this period were Monterey (79.8%), Casper (79.6%), Santa Maria (79.4%), Grand Junction (77.6%), Bozeman (77.6%) and Santa Barbara (a woeful 61.8%). Loads on the Santa Barbara service, which started in May 2008, were so poor that the route was axed in mid-September. During the 16 months of operation, the route never recorded a monthly load factor of over 80%.

Chart: Allegiant presentation slide
According to a management presentation made by Allegiant Air last month, the Las Vegas routes are still extremely profitable even if traffic overall at the airport is down significantly.


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