MIAMI — Allegiant Air today announced major additions to its route network, including a new city. The Las Vegas-based carrier is also acquiring six used Airbus 319s in the next two years to help handle its growth.
The new city being added is Savannah, Georgia, along with new, nonstop jet service on 22 routes, including: Myrtle Beach-Akron-Canton; Oakland-Omaha; Los Angeles-Boise and Savannah to Akron-Canton and Columbus. And on the heels of Frontier Airlines’ announcement February 23 of its expansion in Cincinnati, Allegiant announced service from the city to Austin and Savannah.
Kevin Schorr, vice president of Campbell-Hill Aviation Group, an air service consultancy based in Alexandria, Virginia, noted there were some interesting tibits in the Allegiant Air announcements. “We see that they are continuing to grow in Cincinnati by adding medium-sized markets like Austin-Cincinnati that network carriers won’t touch,” he said. “This is a perfect market for a 50-seat jet, but everyone is getting rid of 50 seaters and Delta continues to cut flights at Cincinnati.”
The Austin-Cincinnati market currently has 29 passengers per day each way in the market at an average fare of $246, said Schorr. “Even with 50-seat jets, this route wasn’t making a lot of money,” he said. “But with Allegiant coming in, it can scoop up visiting friends and relations and leisure traffic, small business owners and price-sensitive travelers who don’t want to pay $500 roundtrip fares.”
Schorr also noted Allegiant’s moves in Memphis and Jacksonville, Florida. “With a market like Jacksonville-Pittsburgh, Allegiant can come in and skim that traffic,” he said. “And with markets Memphis and Raleigh-Durham, they are starting with safe things like Florida service. Both of these cities have tons of medium markets that network carriers and Southwest Airlines won’t touch.”
Meanwhile, the carrier is buying six A319s from Cebu Pacific Air and are scheduled to enter the fleet starting at the end of the year through 2017. By the end of 2018, Allegiant will have 103 aircraft, an increase of 13 percent from the 2015 fleet.
Schorr noted that Allegiant is getting good deals on aircraft already out on the market. “The shocking thing is compared to the number of routes they have, they fly them with a small number of aircraft,” he said. “If you look at the routes they fly, you assume that Allegiant is a much larger airline. The A319 is great plane with the legs to do transcons and to get out of hot-and-high airports and places they could fly to in the future.”