Allegiant reports another profitable quarter

David Becker / AP

In this Thursday, May 9, 2013, photo, ramp agent Vince Divon retrieves gate checked items after the Allegiant Air jet parked at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co., parent company of Allegiant Air, the sixth-busiest commercial airline at McCarran International Airport, reported its fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday.

Company: Allegiant Travel Co. (Nasdaq: ALGT)

Revenue: $238.5 million (up 7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012). It was the 16th straight quarter of increases in total fare and it’s now up 4 percent from a year ago. In addition, full-year ancillary air-related charges per passenger have increased every year for eight straight years.

Earnings: $17.3 million (up 17.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012). Allegiant cut fuel expenses despite the cost per gallon going up. For all of 2013, the airline averaged a 2 percent decrease in the number of gallons of fuel used, more than offsetting a 1 percent increase in the per-gallon cost.

Earnings per share: 94 cents (up 23.1 percent from fourth quarter of 2012).

What it means: It was the 44th straight quarter of profitability for Allegiant, which expanded primarily on the East Coast in 2013.

The airline has made strides in efficiency by adding twin-engine Airbus A319 and A320 jets to its operating certificate and retiring less-efficient MD-80 jets. Last year ended with three A319s and five A320s added with two more A320s joining the fleet in January. In addition to retiring five MD-80s, the company added seats to 51 of those jets.

The airline also added 44 new routes in 2013 and is planning service to two new cities later this quarter.

Allegiant signed a three-year deal to sell rental cars for Enterprise Holdings and contracted with an undisclosed casino to pre-purchase hotel rooms and sell them at a discounted rate. An airline representative said Allegiant didn’t have authorization from the other company to disclose specifics of that deal.

In another matter, the Allegiant Air Pilots Executive Council, an employee group represented by the Teamsters, on Wednesday announced plans to discuss operational concerns with airline stakeholders.

“Allegiant’s low-cost model works if it can actually support the growth of the business,” said Capt. David Bourne, director of the Teamsters’ airline division. “However, management’s lack of operational know-how and flat-out resistance to put badly needed investments into infrastructure is taking a significant toll on flight operations, which could ultimately jeopardize flight safety.”

An Allegiant spokeswoman said the airline is consulting with its negotiating team.