Traffic picked up for Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co. during December, according to a company report released Wednesday, with the number of passengers it carried rising 11.9 percent to 668,000.
By contrast, the 7.2 million passengers that the company’s Allegiant Air unit flew for the entire year marked only a 3.6 percent increase. This included both the schedule service plus scaled-back charter flying.
The monthly results are in line with those of other airlines due to a quirk in the calendar. An unusually late Thanksgiving pushed much of the going-home holiday travel into December after it occurred in November last year.
The 2013 total of 7.2 billion revenue passenger miles, defined as how far each seat goes with a paying customer sitting in it, marked a 9.4 percent rise even though the 51,100 fights was down 4.7 percent. Not only did Allegiant institute longer flights this year, particularly to Hawaii, but the occupancy rate of seats rose 0.5 percentage points to 87.5 percent.
In the current quarter, Allegiant estimates that its flight count will grow 8 percent to 12 percent. To help with the expansion, Allegiant said it had received regulatory clearance to add the Airbus A320 jet to its operating certificate. The company expects to have seven in operation by the end of this week.