Allegiant Air buying 12 newly built planes

David Becker / AP

In this Thursday, May 9, 2013, file photo, two Allegiant Air jets taxi at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Allegiant Air, long known for flying only hand-me-down aircraft, is adding a crop of newly built planes to its fleet for the first time.

The ultra-low-cost carrier said today that it’s buying 12 new Airbus A320s. This “first-time new aircraft purchase by the company” is part of its move to an all-Airbus fleet by 2019, the airline said in a news release.

The new planes are expected to enter service between 2017 and 2018.

Allegiant did not disclose the purchase price.

The Las Vegas-based carrier has long relied on McDonnell Douglas MD-80s. As of Feb. 1, it owned 51 MD-80s — the bulk of its 82 aircraft at the time — and they were an average 26 years old, according to a regulatory filing.

“The fact that these planes are new is notable, but should not be seen as a change in our fundamental strategy,” Maurice “Maury” Gallagher, chairman and CEO of parent Allegiant Travel Co., said in the news release. “We have always looked at building our fleet opportunistically, and this agreement is no exception.”

The planes are “current engine option” aircraft. With Airbus gearing up to shift to new engine models, “we were able to negotiate an order for 12 end-of-line slots,” Gallagher said.

Allegiant today also announced second-quarter earnings.

The company booked $60.8 million in profit, or $3.68 per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares to $54.3 million in profit, or $3.18 per share, during the same period last year.

Allegiant this week also announced that its pilots, represented by Teamsters Local 1224, ratified their first labor agreement with the carrier since they voted to join the union in August 2012.

The five-year contract, which takes effect Aug. 1, includes immediate pay raises of up to 31 percent, improved scheduling and better job security, the union said.

The two sides had been locked in a bitter labor dispute, marked by an attempted strike by pilots, litigation and heated rhetoric.