Allegiant Air doubled in size in six years; 476 routes now served
Allegiant Air is renowned for thin routes; secondary airports; serving small cities; low frequencies; high ancillaries; building its own resort; minimal flying on off-peak days; and used aircraft. And, until quite recently, for its large fleet of MD-80s.
Allegiant Air has doubled in size since 2014
Allegiant doubled its size in the past six years, with nearly 18 million seats in 2019. The year 2016 was the peak of its MD-80 operation, with almost all seats – 12.5 million – flown by them. Their use was because of their very low acquisition and ownership costs, offset by higher maintenance costs and fuel consumption. Their low block hours meant the fixed cost – variable cost balance seemed to work. Come 2019, with all the MD-80s gone, 64% of its seats are served by A320s and 36% by A319s – with its first Airbus introduced in 2017. It now has 93 aircraft. 55 of these are A320s – with 25 having the extra capacity, 186 seat option. Come 2022, it expects 125 aircraft. Of these, 87 will be A320s – and 72 with 186 seats.
Allegiant Air has 129 destinations in 2019
Allegiant serves 129 destinations this year. Orlando Sanford is by far its most-served airport. Its traditional leisure airports – Sanford, Las Vegas, St Petersburg, Phoenix Mesa, Punta Gorda, and so on – are crucial and always will be. However, its “non-traditional destinations”, as the airline calls them – such as Destin, Knoxville, Nashville, and Savannah – are increasingly important. Non-traditional destinations had fewer than one million seats in 2017, but almost two million in 2019. Importantly, they are also helping Allegiant to diversify its route network.
|Airport||Two-way seats in 2019|
|St Pete – Clearwater||2,622,969|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser|
Almost all of Allegiant’s destinations are domestic, with just a small smattering of service to Cancun, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Allegiant has always been known for small cities. While these are still fundamental, it has changed materially. In 2018, 61% of its passengers originated in the top-75 designated market areas (DMAs), the exact percentage of small cities seven years previously.
76% of Allegiant’s routes have no direct competition
Allegiant operates 476 routes in 2019, with its top-10 shown below. Routes to and from Florida account for 60% of its total seats. Sarasota has seen multiple new routes this year. Allegiant now has 19 bases across the US, including five in Florida. Its 20th base, in Des Moines, opens on 14 May 2020. This base will have two A320s and nine routes.
|Route||Two-way seats in 2019|
|Asheville – Fort Lauderdale||283,740|
|Bellingham – Las Vegas||235,248|
|Las Vegas – Stockton||188,760|
|Provo – Phoenix Mesa||185,406|
|Fresno – Las Vegas||184,704|
|Knoxville – Orlando Sanford||179,979|
|Allentown – Orlando Sanford||169,332|
|Asheville – St Pete-Clearwater||166,854|
|Asheville – Orlando Sanford||161,784|
|Charlotte Concord – Fort Lauderdale||149,898|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser|
363 of its 476 routes – 76% – are without direct competition. No surprise when 59% of its routes are less than three-weekly.
The airline is still highly focused on flying when it makes the most sense, with the demand, fare and revenue benefit that comes from this. While its A319s and A320s are newer than its MD-80s, with significant variable cost benefits, they’re still 13+ years old and don’t need to be used intensively to spread fixed costs. Capacity is low on Tuesdays, whereas capacity and demand on Sundays is higher. Therefore, it has increasingly focused on adding capacity on Sundays.
Allegiant is also highly seasonal, with March (spring break) and July (school holidays) key months. The aircraft are used twice as much in peak months (around 10 block hours a day) as its lowest month, September (five).