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.
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.
|From||To||Starting||Weekly flights (outbound)||Head-to-head competition? (weekly flights)|
|Destin Fort Walton Beach||Las Vegas||October 7th||2||No|
|Destin Fort Walton Beach||Minneapolis||October 1st||2||No|
|Fort Lauderdale||Harrisburg||December 15th||2||No|
|Fort Lauderdale||Peoria||December 15th||2||No|
|Fort Lauderdale||Sioux Falls||December 15th||2||No|
|Houston Hobby||Provo||November 18th||2||No|
|Orange County||Sioux Falls||November 19th||2||No|
|Palm Springs||Des Moines||November 18th||2||No|
|Palm Springs||Indianapolis||November 18th||2||No|
|Palm Springs||Provo||November 19th||2||No|
|Phoenix-Mesa||Minneapolis||November 24th||2||Yes: Sun Country (4)|
|Phoenix-Mesa||Orange County||November 19th||2||No|
|Phoenix-Mesa||Springfield (IL)||November 18th||2||No|
|Punta Gorda||Austin||November 18th||2||No|
|Punta Gorda||Fayetteville (AR)||November 17th||2||No|
|Sarasota||Cedar Rapids||November 19th||2||No|
|West Palm Beach||Austin||November 19th||2||No|
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Minneapolis-Asheville: twice-weekly from October 7th
- Minneapolis-Punta Gorda: twice-weekly from October 8th (later rising to four-weekly)
- 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.
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 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.