Allegiant Travel Company is expecting another lengthy delay in the delivery of its first Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft amid further difficulties for Boeing’s next-generation narrowbody programme.
The parent of Las Vegas-based low-cost carrier Allegiant Air had previously expected its first Boeing jets by the end of 2023, but disclosed in November that those deliveries had been pushed to the first week of 2024.
“As of now, we’re estimating that deliveries will begin in late March or early April,” chief revenue officer Drew Wells said during the company’s quarterly earnings call on 5 February.
Boeing revealed on 4 February that near-term 737 Max deliveries are likely to be delayed due to mis-drilled holes in the fuselages of some 50 undelivered jets – the latest in a series of setbacks for the Viriginia- based aerospace manufacturer.
“The continued uncertainty around the timing of our Max deliveries means we’re being extra flexible with our 2024 capacity plans,” says Allegiant’s chief financial officer Gregory Anderson.
The company is taking a “more conservative approach to planning capacity in the back half of the year to provide downside risk mitigation if Boeing Max deliveries are delayed, and upside if on time”, Wells says.
Allegiant says it is “conservatively” expecting delivery of a dozen 737 Max in 2024, and to place 10 of the type into passenger service by year’s end.
The company estimates it will spend $790 million on new aircraft this year.
In October, Allegiant amended a January 2022 deal with Boeing that had included orders for 50 737 Max jets and options for 50 more. The carrier added options for 30 additional 737s and changed the mix of variants it plans to acquire.
Currently, the carrier operates an all-Airbus fleet of A320-family aircraft.