Allegiant’s Huge Network Expansion Sees 22 Routes Added

Allegiant is to begin a further 22 routes this year, with only two previously served by the ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC). It has also revealed two new bases at Appleton and Flint with a total of five stationed A320s, helping to cement the future of these airports. With just one of Allegiant’s coming 22 routes to see head-to-head competition, we delve into what’s happening.

Allegiant A319
Allegiant has added 22 routes, including reintroducing Destin Fort Walton Beach to Las Vegas last served in 2017. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr.

22 routes are coming

The routes that Allegiant has announced, summarized in the table below, have a total of 44 weekly flights, each served twice-weekly in the week that they begin. Allegiant previously served two routes: Destin Fort Walton Beach to Las Vegas (2016-2017) and Fort Lauderdale to Peoria (2007-2008), Cirium data confirms.

Destin-Las Vegas was also served by Vision Airlines in 2011, while AirTran (remember them?) operated Fort Lauderdale-Harrisburg between 2009 and 2011.

Some 10 of Allegiant’s 22 routes are to/from Florida, including West Palm Beach to Austin. This unserved market saw around 24,000 round-trip transit passengers in 2019, booking data indicates. Allegiant’s entry will grow demand in this market from both non-stop service and lower average fares, in much the same way that new entrant Breeze will do in the markets in which it competes.

FromToStartingWeekly flights (outbound)Head-to-head competition? (weekly flights)
Destin Fort Walton BeachLas VegasOctober 7th2No
Destin Fort Walton BeachMinneapolisOctober 1st2No
Fort LauderdaleHarrisburgDecember 15th2No
Fort LauderdalePeoriaDecember 15th2No
Fort LauderdaleSioux FallsDecember 15th2No
Houston HobbyProvoNovember 18th2No
Orange CountySioux FallsNovember 19th2No
Palm SpringsDes MoinesNovember 18th2No
Palm SpringsIndianapolisNovember 18th2No
Palm SpringsProvoNovember 19th2No
Phoenix-MesaAmarilloNovember 18th2No
Phoenix-MesaFlintNovember 18th2No
Phoenix-MesaMinneapolisNovember 24th2Yes: Sun Country (4)
Phoenix-MesaOrange CountyNovember 19th2No
Phoenix-MesaSpokaneNovember 22nd2No
Phoenix-MesaSpringfield (IL)November 18th2No
Phoenix-MesaTulsaNovember 18th2No
Punta GordaAustinNovember 18th2No
Punta GordaFayetteville (AR)November 17th2No
SarasotaCedar RapidsNovember 19th2No
SarasotaTulsaDecember 15th2No
West Palm BeachAustinNovember 19th2No

Phoenix-Mesa has the most routes

Phoenix-Mesa, the secondary airport for the large Phoenix metro area, is the biggest beneficiary by the number of additional routes. Seven have been announced, of which only Minneapolis will have head-to-head competition. This brings to 52 the number of Allegiant routes from the Arizona airport this winter. (Mesa is due to welcome Canadian carrier Flair Airlines too.)

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Most of Allegiant’s coming routes from Mesa will naturally face indirect competition from airlines at Phoenix Sky Harbor, an airport that Allegiant will serve from October. However, Amarillo, Flint, and Springfield (Ilinois) do not have non-stop service from Sky Harbor, so Allegiant will be the only non-stop provider serving the Phoenix metro. The Texas Panhandle city of Amarillo is interesting.

Allegiant A320
The 22 routes are based had some 331,000 transit (i.e. indirect) passengers in 2019. This figure was calculated by using indirect traffic from the exact and/or nearest airports, such as Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Punta Gorda and Fort Myers, and Sky Harbor and Mesa. For example, Harrisburg to Fort Lauderdale (unserved) had ~16,000 round-trip passengers, rising to 29,000 if Miami (also unserved) is included. Photo: Getty Images.

Phoenix to Amarillo

American connected Amarillo to its Arizona hub, now one of the USA’s fastest-growing airports, between April 2018 and May 2019, while years before that it was served by Southwest.

While American’s Amarillo route was clearly new, the USA’s T-100 data shows that the carrier had just a 48% seat load factor (SLF) on it in 2018, with 70% of passengers continuing beyond Phoenix. SLF reduced to 41% the following year. Airline people can often very quickly tell if a route will end up doing well or not based on initial sales. For Amarillo, that was no.

Not that the Phoenix-Amarillo P2P market was large, with only about 12,000 such passengers in 2019. As such, the 584-mile route to Mesa seems a pretty logical addition for a low-frequency Allegiant service. It’ll join other Texas routes to Houston Hobby and McAllen from Mesa.

Allegiant Appleton and Flint
Ever seen a cheese plane before? Allegiant will open two new bases in 2022 at Appleton and Flint. Appleton will see two based A320s from March 2022, while Bishop International Airport in Flint will welcome three A320s from February. Photo: Appleton International Airport.

Only one route has direct competition

Allegiant is renowned for starting brand-new, or at least unserved, routes like Breeze Airways and Avelo. And the latest batch of routes doesn’t disappoint, with 95.5% unserved. Only one – the 1,267-mile link from Mesa to Minneapolis – will have head-to-head competition, in this instance with Minnesota’s Sun Country.

After serving Phoenix Sky Harbor for many years, Sun Country earlier this year revealed that it’ll launch Mesa too. Kicking off on November 24th – obviously not a coincidence that Allegiant will start that day too – will be its sole route to Minneapolis, served four-weekly. This will supplement its 19-weekly Sky Harbor-Minneapolis offering in the week that Mesa begins.

Allegiant Des Moines
Allegiant opened its Des Moines base in July 2021. This summer, the airline has a 14% share of the Iowa airport’s total seat capacity with 14 routes. Palm Springs will be served from November. Photo: Allegiant.

Minneapolis is new for 2021

While Allegiant has ordinarily eschewed primary (and therefore normally more expensive and congested) airports for secondary alternatives, there are exceptions, such as Newark, Boston, Denver, and Sky Harbor. And, now, Minneapolis.

In addition to Destin and Mesa, starting October 1st and November 24th respectively, Minneapolis will see the following this year. Note that Los Angeles is bookable too, but this route has only two round-trips and therefore isn’t detailed below.

  1. Minneapolis-Asheville: twice-weekly from October 7th
  2. Minneapolis-Punta Gorda: twice-weekly from October 8th (later rising to four-weekly)
  3. Minneapolis-West Palm Beach: twice-weekly from October 7th

Of course, this won’t be the first time that Allegiant has served Minnesota. Rochester, some 87 miles from Minneapolis, operated between 2007 and 2014, while Duluth existed between 2006 and 2015. Meanwhile, St Cloud, 69 miles northwest of the state’s main city, launched in 2010 and remains to this day.

Allegiant A320
The introduction of Orange County to Sioux Falls, beginning on November 19th, comes as Allegiant ends Los Angeles to the South Dakota airport. Allegiant has served Los Angeles-Sioux Falls since 2009, a route that ended in August 2018 but returned from June to August 2021. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Palm Springs has grown well

Like many other leisure-focused airports, Palm Springs has grown strongly despite, or rather because of, coronavirus. For obvious reasons, the California destination is much more of a winter or early spring place than summer. In 2019, for example, its peak month (March) had over four times the capacity as the lowest month (August).

Yet things have changed, with Palm Springs’ capacity from June to September 2021 up by an impressive 46% versus 2019. Despite the heat, people are desperate to travel. And this coming winter will be up strongly too. While the entry of Southwest has greatly helped push Palm Springs’ development, since the pandemic struck Allegiant is one of the few existing airlines to have expanded at the airport.

Allegiant new routes
With the three additional routes from Palm Springs, including the long 1,716-mile service to Indianapolis, the ULCC will have seven routes from the California airport this winter. Image: Allegiant.

Allegiant has served Palm Springs since 2005

Entering the desert resort airport in 2005 with a sole route from Las Vegas, Allegiant added Bellingham in 2007, Stockton in 2011, and Oakland and Eugene in 2012. That was it until 2019. Since COVID happened, the ULCC has restarted Eugene and added Boise and Nashville – and now Des Moines, Indianapolis, and Provo.

What are your thoughts on these coming routes? Let us know in the comments.