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Allegiant sees profitable quarter as travel rebounds from pandemic

Allegiant Air continued its climb back to profitability last quarter but is flying in a different environment compared with the pre-pandemic days, the carrier said Wednesday.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co., the airline’s parent, booked $39.3 million in net income, or $2.18 per share, in the three months ending Sept. 30. That’s compared with a loss of $29.1 million, or a loss of $1.82 per share, during the same stretch last year after the coronavirus outbreak kept people home and away from crowds for fear of getting infected, devastating the tourism industry.

The ultra-low-cost carrier flew almost 3.9 million passengers in the third quarter, up from just over 2 million during the same period last year, and logged 30,663 departures, up from 24,365.

Overall, Allegiant booked $459.5 million in third-quarter revenue, up from $201 million a year earlier.

Demand was strong during its peak summer travel season, Allegiant Chairman and CEO Maurice “Maury” Gallagher said in a news release, adding that while the airline “experienced a slowdown” as the coronavirus delta variant spread, it has since “seen the demand curve ramp back up.”

Before the pandemic, airline operations were a “well-oiled machine,” but Allegiant now faces an overheated economy, continuing impacts of COVID-19 and a difficult labor environment, Gallagher said.

It all created a “perfect storm of challenges,” including flight cancellations and delays over the past several months, he added.

He noted that the airline reimburses its customers and that given “the volume of our interruptions this past quarter, this was a meaningful amount.”

“As we head into the holiday season, job one is managing our operational integrity,” Gallagher said in the release. “We’ve scaled back on some peak day travel to mitigate the risk of cancellations.”

Still, the business overall is in “great shape,” he said. Among other things, Gallagher noted that Allegiant’s once-stalled Florida resort project, Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor, is slated to open in the first quarter of 2023.

The company suspended construction of the riverfront project in March 2020 amid the early chaos of the coronavirus outbreak, part of its sweeping efforts to save cash. It resumed construction this summer and recently announced that it obtained a $350 million loan for the project.

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

Following 17 consecutive profitable years, the company reported a loss of $184.1 million for 2020. Allegiant said Wednesday that it booked $141.2 million in profit this year through September.

Allegiant stock, traded on the NASDAQ exchange, ended Wednesday at $179.04, down 0.98 percent, but climbed 1.93 percent after hours to $182.49.

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

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