Allegiant cites potential new markets with A319s

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Las Vegas-based low-cost carrier Allegiant Air is studying new US markets and its first international destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean that it can serve with its new Airbus A319s that will arrive in the fleet from the second quarter of 2013.

The carrier, which operates mostly Boeing MD-80s and a few Boeing 757s currently, announced in July that it will add 19 A319s to its fleet through 2015.

Allegiant's A319s will help open up "new short field markets" such as Trenton, New Jersey and Charlottesville, Virginia, says Jude Bricker, the airline's senior vice-president of planning at today's Dahlman Rose Global Transportation Conference in New York.

Charlottesville is currently served by mainline US carriers such as Delta Air Lines and US Airways. Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines will begin service to Trenton from Orlando from 16 November, becoming the second commercial carrier to operate to the New Jersey airport.

Saying that the A319 has "particularly great take-off characteristics", Bricker says it could be operated from the north-east to the Caribbean as well as "half a dozen" Mexican markets.

The A319s can also be operated on transcontinental flights due to its long-haul capacity, he adds. Overall, the A319s could open up to 20 new cities for Allegiant's network, says Bricker.

Cancun and Cabo San Lucas are potential destination markets for Bricker, who also acknowledges that Mexican operations will have its challenges due to regulatory requirements and costs. "Mexico generates traffic in Las Vegas and Orlando... we would like to be there soon," he says.

Allegiant's executives had earlier said it could launch international flights after adding the A319s, pointing out that the aircraft can access certain airports in high or hot conditions which the MD-80 will not be able to reach.