Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air has indicated that it could launch international flights after adding Airbus A319s to its fleet, citing the aircraft's longer range.
The carrier announced today a plan to add 19 A319s to its mainly Boeing MD-80 fleet through 2015. Allegiant also operates Boeing 757s. The A319 will have a range of 6,670km (3,600nm), compared with the MD-80's 2,590km, according to Allegiant.
Allegiant's president Andrew Levy says the A319 will open up new route opportunities, saying that he expects that the airline will favour smaller markets with high aircraft utilisation. Larger cities in Allegiant's network could be served with a combination of the MD-80s and A319s, he adds.
While the carrier's executives decline to name specific new city pairs, they say that the A319 will allow Allegiant to operate to certain airports in high or hot conditions in Mexico which the MD-80 will not be able to reach.
Allegiant currently operates only within the continental US and recently started flights to Hawaii with 757s. It has four 757s in service currently and will add two more to its fleet in the first quarter of 2013 when they are returned to Allegiant from a UK carrier leasing them.
There is potential to grow the 757 fleet as the airline plans to expand further in Hawaii and add dense, long haul routes, says Levy.
Allegiant had previously planned to launch flights to Mexico but backed away from this in 2009, citing challenges with US customs. The carrier said then that Mexico flights would only work if US customs opens pre-clearance facilities in Mexico, as the airline then served small US airports with no customs facilities or small custom facilities that cannot handle commercial flights.