Allegiant has today announced a commitment for up to 100 aircraft from the Boeing 737 MAX family. The order is the first from an ultra-low-cost carrier in the United States, and represents a big win for Boeing in its home turf. The order is split between the MAX 7 and the high density MAX 8-200.
Allegiant’s big MAX order
As anticipated, low-cost US airline Allegiant has indeed placed an order for up to 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The airline had been rumored to be close to a deal yesterday, and has now confirmed those rumors to be true.
Today, Boeing has announced a firm order for 50 737 MAX by Allegiant, with an additional 50 options available. Both the 737 MAX 7 and the MAX 8 have been selected by the airline, with the larger variant being the specifically high-density model created for Ryanair known as the MAX 8-200.
Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., Allegiant chairman and CEO, commented on the deal,
“Our approach to fleet has always been opportunistic, and this exciting transaction with Boeing is no exception. While the heart of our strategy continues to center on previously-owned aircraft, the infusion of up to 100 direct-from-the-manufacturer 737s will bring numerous benefits for the future – including flexibility for capacity growth and aircraft retirements, significant environmental benefits, and modern configuration and cabin features our customers will appreciate.”
Based out of Las Vegas Harry Reid Airport, Allegiant operates a fleet of all-Airbus aircraft, with 120 in total split between the A320 and A319 models. That’s not to say it has always operated Airbus, however. In the past, it had a large fleet of MD-83s, and even flew a handful of Boeing 757-200s in the early 2010s.
As the Airbuses arrived, the MDs and 757s were phased out of the fleet. Now, with Allegiant picking the US manufacturer for its next-generation fleet, we can expect a decline of the A320 family aircraft as the new MAX start to arrive.
A win on its home turf
Securing an ultra-low-cost carrier like Allegiant is a big win for Boeing, and is the first ULCC in the States to commit to the MAX family of jets. The icing on the cake is the ability to draw another all-Airbus airline away from the European planemaker and into its own product line.
Gallagher’s comments on the opportunistic nature of the airline seem to suggest that the deal with Boeing was just too good to refuse. Also likely going in its favor is the manufacturer’s 8-200 variant, offering lower cost per seat-mile than any other narrowbody aircraft.
Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO commented on the transaction saying,
“We are thrilled that Allegiant has selected Boeing and the 737 MAX as they position themselves for future growth, improved efficiency and operational cost performance. This deal further validates the economics of the 737 MAX family in the ULCC market and we’re excited to stand alongside Allegiant as they integrate these new airplanes into their fleet.”
For Boeing, the Allegiant deal is just the pick-me-up it needs after a tough couple of years. Having recently lost out to Airbus on a narrowbody replacement order for the Air France-KLM Group, this new vote of confidence in its single-aisle product will be a welcome boost.
Just over a year since the MAX was ungrounded by the FAA, other authorities around the world have, one by one, approved the type to fly. Even Ethiopian Airlines, one of the victims of the disaster, is preparing to reintroduce the type into service. It seems that confidence in the MAX is truly restored.