Allegiant Air passenger volume nearly evaporated last month after the coronavirus pandemic started shutting down much of the economy in March, newly released figures show.
The carrier’s parent, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co., reported Monday it flew 36,342 passengers in April, down 97.1 percent from roughly 1.27 million during the same month last year.
Overall, it made 1,089 departures last month, down 88.3 percent from 9,305 takeoffs in April 2019.
The new figures, which are preliminary, comprise Allegiant’s scheduled service, the vast majority of its flights.
The steep drop in flying underscores the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the travel industry, the backbone of Las Vegas’ economy.
The Strip effectively closed over the outbreak, and job losses in Nevada skyrocketed. More than 440,700 initial unemployment insurance claims were filed in Nevada in the past nine weeks, state data shows.
Allegiant, a deep-discount carrier, is known for flying from small, underserved cities to warm-weather vacation spots, usually without competition on its routes.
First quarterly loss in 17 years
After 17 straight profitable years, it recently reported a $33 million first-quarter loss, fueled by a $163 million write-off of its non-airline businesses.
Those side ventures include its Florida resort project, Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor. Allegiant suspended construction of the $470 million riverfront project in March as the pandemic started wreaking havoc on the economy.
To further save money during the crisis, Allegiant has suspended stock buybacks and dividends, announced a 50 percent salary cut for executives, and enacted a hiring freeze.
On top of that, more than 1,100 employees, or roughly a quarter of its workforce, had taken some type of pay cut as of last week.