A new fleet of Airbus A319s and A320s has made a good first impression at Allegiant Air, but delay obtaining the carrier’s operating certificate continue to slow down the operational ramp-up.
The Las Vegas-based low-cost carrier ended 2013 with three A319s and five A320s leased from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). Two more A320s arrived so far in January.
“If anything fuel is coming in lower than what we had forecast in the presentations we made,” Levy says. “We’re very pleased with the performance of those airplanes – both in terms of reliability and in terms of economics. They are substantially more fuel-efficient.”
Allegiant Air used the Airbus types to replace older McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, especially on routes with smaller runways.
However, the US government shutdown in October caused by a political impasse meant the Federal Aviation Administration was unable to review the carrier’s application for an operating certificate for several weeks.
As a result, entry into service for the A320s was delayed until December. Allegiant Air is still feeling the effects in the fourth quarter, Levy says. The carrier is still training employees on the A320, forcing the carrier to use smaller aircraft than expected on those results. Available seat miles in January declined by 0.2% as a result compared to Allegiant’s plan, Levy says.
Allegiant has announced plans to lease up to 10 A319s and nine A320s overall.
“We think we have the right size fleet for what we’re doing,” Levy says.