The short answer is yes, Allegiant Airlines is safe. It never had a fatal accident, and it is, arguably, as safe as any other airline operating in the United States. If you’re willing to find out why then please keep reading.
Allegiant provides nonstop, scheduled service from over 110 U.S. cities. All Allegiant flights are nonstop, and Allegiant does not offer one-stop or connecting flights. Some of Allegiant’s routes are seasonal. The company also has authority for charter service to Canada and Mexico. Allegiant recently announced plans for a fully integrated Commercial Alliance Agreement with Viva Aerobus to expand options for nonstop leisure air travel between the United States and Mexico.
Allegiant Air is considered the 14th largest commercial airline in North America, and 11th by fleet size, with 107 aircraft.
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Allegiant Air Has a Modern Fleet
Currently, Allegiant Air operates a fleet of 107 Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft. These aircraft models have one of the best mechanical safety records in the industry. Recently the airline contracted with the Boeing Corporation to purchase 30 B737 MAX 7 and 20 Max 200 aircraft, powered by CFM LEAP 1-B engines. The airline expects delivery of these aircraft beginning mid-2023.
The average age of Allegiant’s aircraft fleet is 14.7 years, on par with major air carriers such as United Airlines. Considering that aircraft from World War Two are still safely flying today, it is the standard of maintenance, and not age, that really determines the safety of an aircraft.
Allegiant Air Is Certified by the FAA
Allegiant was founded in 1997 and is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as a “Scheduled Air Carrier” with the authority to fly scheduled and charter airline operations throughout the U.S. It is one of 42 airlines to have never suffered a fatal accident in its history.
Allegiant Air Incidents, Accidents, and Allegations
In mid-2015, a rash of mid-air breakdowns drew media attention. On June 25, 2015, five Allegiant flights were interrupted over a four-hour period, due to mechanical failures in flight. The airline came under increased FAA scrutiny after those incidents, which all involved Allegiant’s aging fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft.
In 2016, the FAA moved up a regularly scheduled five-year inspection of Allegiant Air. At the conclusion of the inspection, the FAA found the airline’s safety issues both minor and non-systemic.
As of late 2018, all of Allegiant’s MD-80 aircraft were replaced by Airbus aircraft.
How Can Allegiant Air Be Both Safe and Cheap?
Allegiant Air has a somewhat unique business model. Allegiant has a limited flight schedule, very few amenities, and usually flies to and from underserved markets. Allegiant seeks to lease airport boarding gates for only the dates and times needed and to use existing airport services and local contract employees wherever possible.
The company focuses on city pairs and utilizes less expensive secondary airports in those locations. For example, in the Orland, Florida and New York City markets, Allegiant operates out of the less utilized Orlando- Sanford Airport (SFB) on the opposite side of the metro area from the Orlando International (MCO) mega-airport and the Newburgh, NY airport on the west side of the New York City metro area, in order to save money in its airport operations.
In the face of increasing demand in 2010, Allegiant moved half of its Orlando schedule from Orlando-Sanford to Orlando International Airport to test revenue streams at the higher-cost airport. After evaluating the routes out of Orlando International, the carrier decided to consolidate and return their Orlando area operations back to Orlando-Sanford International Airport base, citing an inability to achieve a fare premium at MCO as anticipated, a strong passenger preference for Orlando Sanford International Airport, higher than expected costs at MCO, and a more efficient operating environment at SFB.
Allegiant Air is often the first airline to provide scheduled air carrier service in new growth markets. A good example is the Allegiant Air start-up at the Punta Gorda airport in high-growth southwest Florida. While this region is well served by airports in Tampa, Sarasota, and Fort Myers, Allegiant worked with the then general aviation-only airport to stand up scheduled air carrier service.
While Allegiant’s direct economic impact on the airport was not very high, airport authorities were able to offer passenger service to their community and broaden their economic base through concessions and services related to the new passenger operation. Since Allegiant started operations at the airport in 2007, its list of destination cities from Punta Gorda has exploded to over 25 locations, and in 2019 enplaned over 800,000 passengers. The airport has also attracted another low-cost carrier, Sun Country.
Allegiant Air charges practically all of the fees that other airlines charge, such as check baggage fees, food, flight changes, priority access, and seat selection, to name a few. In addition, there is also a charge for a carry-on bag.
On the maintenance side, Allegiant has powered its aircraft with CFM engines since 2013. CFM will also power the airline’s new Boeing aircraft on order. Using this single powerplant provider cuts training and supply chain/inventory costs, gives it economy of scale bargaining power, and streamlines its maintenance operations.
Summary: Is Flying with Allegiant Air Safe?
Currently, Allegiant Air is a very safe and efficient low-cost airline. Despite some safety concerns due to aging aircraft during a brief period in the middle of the last decade, Allegiant Air is one of the safest airlines in operation today.
Depending on your travel needs, Allegiant Air can get you to destinations that many major airlines do not serve, and with easier ground access to the airports on both ends of your trip. As with any low-cost airline, if you are willing to forego some amenities, your airfare on Allegiant Air can be one of the smaller travel expenses of your trip.
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