Allegiant Introduces New Type to Fleet
After a couple weeks of rumors, an official announcement came from Allegiant (G4) this morning that the airline intends to lease nine Airbus A319 aircraft from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). Following the lease, the carrier announced plans to purchase ten Airbus A319 from Cebu Pacific Air of the Philippines.
The new aircraft type not only provides growth opportunities, with a range that allows for trans-continental flights, but provides better fuel efficiency than existing MD-80 series aircraft.
Allegiant plans to have the first two A319’s operating by the second quarter of 2013.
Currently, the airline has a fleet of 58 MD-80 series aircraft, including the MD-82 and MD-83, four Boeing 757-200 and owns an additional Boeing 757-200 aircraft.
The Boeing 757-200 fleet is ETOPS certified and primarily used on flights between the US mainland and Hawaii. The Hawaiian flights typically originate from smaller, niche, west coast airports, but in a couple markets such as Bellingham, WA, and Las Vegas, they take carriers including Alaska Airlines andHawaiian Airlineshead-on.
Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant President, said, “The A319 is a new aircraft type for Allegiant, but we otherwise see this as a continuation of our existing business model.” Levy continued, “A319 asset values have significantly declined and now mirror the environment we saw when we first began buying MD-80s.”
As noted above, the range of the A319 is a huge benefit, allowing the carrier to fly further without having to use the larger Boeing 757-200 aircraft.