The profits keep on rolling in for feisty Allegiant Air even as the airline moves to buy new airplanes and retire its fleet of aging MD-80s.
The Las Vegas-based airline announced Tuesday afternoon its 57th consecutive profitable quarter with net income of $41.6 million for the first three months. Though that was down nearly 42 percent from last year's $72 million, a good piece of that decline is tied to the higher labor costs associated with the airline's new pilots contract.
Allegiant posted nearly $376 million in revenue in the first quarter, which is an increase of nearly 8 percent from 2016's $349 million. The airline's total routes grew from last year's 298 to 358.
Allegiant has been working to eliminate its fleet of aging MD-80s because they require more-frequent maintenance and are prone to mechanical problems that cause havoc with Allegiant's schedule through cancelled and delayed flights. Allegiant maintains the MD-80s are safe. The carrier is buying 12 brand-new Airbus aircraft.
"Our transition to an all-Airbus fleet is underway and, so far, on schedule," said Maurice Gallagher Jr., Allegiant CEO. " One-time expenses associated with this transition will be lumpy, most of which will occur from now through the summer of 2018."
Allegiant officials said they were still on track to fly only Airbus aircraft out of St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport by the end of 2017. Allegiant flies about 95 percent of the passenger traffic at the Pinellas airport.
The carrier also is apparently considering getting into the hotel business. Asked about that possibility by a financial analyst during an earnings conference call, company officials said they were studying a range of possibilities of generating new revenue for a company that already caters to leisure travelers.
They said they may be in a position to say more by the end of the year.
Contact William R. Levesque at [email protected] Follow @Times_Levesque.