By Daniel Morley
Allegiant Air Announces December Traffic Numbers
Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air recently announced their December 2021 passenger numbers as well as their overall passenger traffic for 2021. Passenger numbers for the month exceeded the same month in 2019. This was despite operational difficulty over the holiday period mostly related due to crew shortages from the Omicron variant of Covid-19. The airline also managed to post a profit for the third consecutive quarter since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Passenger numbers for December 2021 were up 0.9% compared to December 2019, with 1,320,403 flown on the Allegiant system last month versus 1,308,341 two years earlier. Year over year the airline saw a 96.2% increase in passenger numbers, helped by the reduction in restrictions and the wide availability and uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine. The airline also operated more flights last month than in December 2019, seeing a 4% increase. Despite the higher total passenger numbers, the load factor was down over 2019 by 3.8 points, with an average load factor of 78.8% last month versus 82.6% for the same month in 2019.
Throughout the month passenger bookings consistently outperformed bookings in 2019, despite passenger cancellations due to the rise of the Omicron variant. The bookings led to revenue of $458 million for the airline for the month of December. With the increase in schedule disruptions, the airline did spend $23 million in irregular operations costs, due to cancellations and crew shortages. Full financial results for the fourth quarter of 2021 and the yearly results will be released at the beginning of next month.
Overall, the total 2021 traffic numbers substantially exceeded 2020. Passenger numbers were up 58.1% and departures were up 33.1%. 13,367,405 people traveled across the Allegiant system in 2021, compared to 8,623,984 in 2020. Compared to 2019, passenger numbers were still down for 2021 by 9.2%, but departures were up by 5.9%. There were 15,012,149 people that traveled across the Allegiant system in 2019.
Allegiant and other leisure-based carriers have fared much better during the pandemic compared to their business travel-oriented competitors. They have been able to expand service during the pandemic as people sought outdoor destinations to escape indoor lockdowns. Allegiant added multiple destinations over the course of the year, as well as opened two new crew bases in the Midwest. The airline also resumed construction of its in-house resort in Port Charlotte, FL.
As a sign of their recent growth, Allegiant recently announced a large aircraft order for 100 new Boeing 737 Max aircraft. The order is the first the airline has made for new Boeing aircraft and is also the first new order for next-generation aircraft. The airline previously made an order for new aircraft from Airbus but this was for the older generations, Airbus A320ceo aircraft. The airline also previously operated pre-owned Boeing 757s for short-lived service from the west coast to Hawaii.