Allegiant boss Gallagher receives near-$3 million bonus

Special to the Sun

Maurice Gallagher, chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Co., has stakes in various ventures outside the airline industry.

Reaping a windfall from record profits, Allegiant Air boss Maurice “Maury” Gallagher booked a nearly $3 million bonus last year, far above his usual payout, the company disclosed today.

Gallagher, chairman and chief executive of parent Allegiant Travel Co., doesn’t take a base salary but is the ultra-low-cost carrier’s largest shareholder. With 20.5-percent of its stock, his holdings were valued at about $545 million today.

He also has received a bonus almost every year since 2007. It normally ranged between $100,000 and $200,000 until it bounced up to around $547,000 in 2014, securities filings show.

According to a filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gallagher received a bonus of $2,926,633 last year.

In the filing, Las Vegas-based Allegiant said the 66-year-old Gallagher “expects to continue to serve without a base salary into the future.” Allegiant’s compensation committee included him last year in the “cash bonus pool and also granted him stock-based awards to reward him for our company’s industry-leading profit margins,” the filing said.

The filing also said Gallagher is expected to “participate in future equity grants and the annual cash bonus” at the committee’s discretion, and the amount he receives “will depend on our profitability in relation to our expectations and other relevant factors.”

Efforts to get comment from Allegiant on whether any factors besides record profits led to the larger-than-usual bonus, were not immediately successful.

Allegiant, with small base fares and a bevy of add-on fees, flies mostly from small, underserved cities to warm-weather vacation spots. The carrier booked $220 million in profit last year — more than 2 1/2 times above the nearly $87 million it earned in 2014.

The soaring profits came amid plunging fuel costs.

Allegiant consumed about 150 million gallons of jet fuel last year, up 16 percent from 2014, but overall it spent $278 million on fuel, down 28 percent.

Its average cost per gallon last year was $1.86, down 38 percent from 2014.

Meanwhile, news of Gallagher’s bonus comes after Allegiant announced in March the top boss had sold 292,200 shares of Allegiant stock at a price of $163.50 apiece, generating a $47.8 million payday.

Allegiant said Gallagher planned “to use the proceeds primarily to retire outstanding debt for existing personal ventures.”

“I remain as committed to Allegiant as the day I started with the company,” Gallagher said in the news release announcing the sale. “The Allegiant business model has demonstrated its resiliency in any environment and is only getting stronger.”

He made a similar statement in September 2014 after selling 200,000 shares back to Allegiant for $126.20 apiece, producing a $25.2 million windfall.

“I remain as committed to Allegiant as the day I started the company,” Gallagher said in the news release announcing that sale. “Allegiant has proven to be consistently profitable, has continually produced strong financial metrics, and is one of the few airlines which can grow and return cash to shareholders.”

At the time, the carrier said Gallagher planned to use those proceeds “to fund cash investment requirements for other ventures he is pursuing personally.”