Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air is hoping to launch its inaugural international service to Mexico in the fourth quarter of 2015, but acknowledges that it might not make that timeline.
“We are targeting flying into Mexico by the fourth quarter next year, but I don’t know if we can make that date,” says Allegiant Air president Andrew Levy at the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit.
Allegiant has long said it wants to serve Mexico, but has postponed the launch of the flights as it chooses to prioritise its IT resources on other projects. “There’s a big chunk of work that needs to be done, and needs to be prioritised appropriately,” says Levy.
The airline had in 2013 won rights to serve Hermosillo and San Jose del Cabo from Las Vegas, but told the US Department of Transportation in July that it has decided to not start those flights “for the foreseeable future”.
Besides those two Mexican destinations, the airline sees immense potential in serving Cancun from the eastern and midwestern parts of the USA. San Jose del Cabo will likely be served from the west.
However, the airline would have to work around the lack of immigrations facilities at many of the small airports it serves, says Levy. This could involve Allegiant operating one-stop service via major airports that are equipped with international processing facilities.
“We would have to experiment and see how that goes with customers. Big hub airports are not easy to navigate,” says Levy. Allegiant’s main business is focused on serving leisure passengers using small airports with little or no commercial air service.
Levy says the airline would love to see the US government roll out pre-clearance customs facilities in Mexico, but adds: “We are not holding our breath on that.”