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Allegiant books full-year profit again

Allegiant Travel Co. swung back to the black last year as air travel rebounded from the pandemic.

The Las Vegas-based parent of Allegiant Air on Wednesday reported $151.9 million in profit, $8.68 a share, in 2021, a whopping 182.5 percent increase compared to a loss of $184.1 million, $11.53 a share, in 2020.

All told, the company generated $1.7 billion in revenue last year, up 72.5 percent from 2020, and reported more than $1.4 billion in expenses, up 13.7 percent year-over-year.

Maurice Gallagher, chairman and CEO of Allegiant, said in a news release that as the year ended, its operations were “challenged by impacts from the Omicron variant” of the coronavirus, and it faced “unprecedented crew shortages due to COVID, resulting in cancelled flights during the peak holiday travel season and persisting throughout January.”

But the ultra-low-cost carrier still increased the number of passengers and departures last year. It flew 13.6 million passengers in 2021, up 58.1 percent from 2020, and logged 117,047 departures, up 33.1 percent year-over-year.

“Case counts have started to recede, thus the worst should be behind us,” Gallagher said, noting he expects operations to “return to a more normalized state in time for peak March travel.”

He stated bookings were strong for the upcoming leisure travel periods, particularly spring break.

Allegiant is known for flying from small, underserved cities to warm-weather vacation spots, usually without competition on its routes.

It had booked 17 consecutive profitable years before the pandemic hit.

Despite its return to profitability, Allegiant’s earnings and passenger counts remain below levels seen in 2019, the year before the coronavirus outbreak devastated the tourism industry.

In 2019, the company reported $232.1 million in net income and flew just over 15 million passengers.

Last month, Allegiant announced it was buying dozens of new Boeing jets as it expands beyond its all-Airbus fleet and history of purchasing used planes.

When the deal was announced, Allegiant said the new planes would burn about 20 percent less fuel than older Airbus A320s and offer increased seating capacity.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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