Four airlines have demonstrated a strong economic performance in late 2009 and early 2010. These are Allegiant Air, AirTran Airways, Alaska Air and JetBlue Airways. A fifth carrier, Frontier Airlines, has made major decisions that point to a successful performance potential. Even the legacy carriers are sounding optimistic for the future. There are many signals that point to dynamic opportunities for profit and growth in 2010 and beyond.
Allegiant Air focuses on linking travelers in small cities to top leisure destinations such as Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Phoenix-Mesa, and Los Angeles. Allegiant is part of a travel company that also sells hotel rooms and car rentals. Traffic jumped 21.6 percent in January continuing its double-digit traffic gains in recent months. Average occupancy in January was 90.3 percent.
Allegiant has signed an agreement to buy 18 MD-80 aircraft from Scandinavian Airlines Systems, will take delivery of the aircraft during…
the first three quarters of 2010 and will put them in service by the end of 2011. The company currently operates 46 MD-80s and expects the cost of placing the 18 new aircraft into service to be less than $4 million per plane.
Allegiant announced a record annual profit of $76 million or $3.76 per share with an operating margin of 21.9% for 2009. Shares of parent Allegiant Travel Co. currently trade in the $52.00 range.
Allegiant Air recently initiated flights to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix-Mesa from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport .
Allegiant Air will establish a new base at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and will add nonstop service to its sixth destination from Grand Rapids with service to Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The company announced new nonstop service between:
Orlando Sanford International Airport and Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville, Tenn., Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, and Knoxville, Tenn. and Duluth International Airport in Minnesota;
St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, N.Y;
Bellingham International Airport in Washington and Oakland International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.
AirTran Airways said Tuesday that January traffic rose 6.8 percent. Annual earnings in 2009 were $134.7 million compared to a loss of $273.8 million in 2008.
AirTran Airways also launched daily nonstop service to Montego Bay, Jamaica, from Orlando International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport.
AirTran Airways began nonstop service in February from Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky., to Orlando International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. It will begin flights between Atlanta and Tunica, Miss., on May 6.
Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK), reported the number of revenue passenger miles rose to 1.47 billion from 1.34 billion in 2009, or an increase of 9.5 percent. At sister airline Horizon Air, revenue passenger miles jumped 10.4 percent.
Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air fly nearly half of the passenger traffic at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and posted a $24.1 million fourth-quarter profit compared to a loss of $75.2 million for the same period in 2008. Alaska Air Group reported full-year 2009 net income of $121.6 million compared to a net loss of $135.9 million in 2008.
JetBlue Airways January traffic increased 9.1 percent. Earnings in 2009 improved to a profit of $58 million from a loss of $76 million in 2008.
JetBlue inaugurated new service between Orlando International Airport and Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Feb. 8. Montego Bay is the 23rd nonstop destination served by JetBlue from Central Florida. The airline offers flights to six other destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America: Bogota, Colombia; Cancun, Mexico; Nassau, Bahamas; San Jose, Costa Rica; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Aguadilla, Ponce and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
JetBlue Airways currently serves 60 cities with 600 daily flights.
Frontier Airlines announced it is initiating nonstop flights to Branson, Mo.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Green Bay, Wis.; Long Beach, Calif.; Madison, Wis.; Newport News-Williamsburg, Va.; and Santa Barbara, Calif. from Denver International Airport.
Also, from Denver Frontier said that it would:
• Add a third daily flight to New York-LaGuardia; Add a fifth daily flight to Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; and Seattle/Tacoma and switch to jet aircraft on all flights between Denver and Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Omaha and Salt Lake City. The airline will use E170s, E190s and Airbus aircraft.