The Mighty Allegiant Air Trundles On — Profitably


Delta Air Lines was not the only airline that reported earnings yesterday.

One of our PlaneBusiness Banter stock faves, Allegiant, took its turn at the 2008 Fourth Quarter Confessional. The big difference with Allegiant? There were no “Hail Marys” proscribed as penance for their less-than-satisfactory performance.

Quite the opposite.

The airline with the screwy business plan once again posted what I thought were very strong earnings. Allegiant Travel Co., the parent of Allegiant Air, reported that earnings nearly quadrupled for the quarter, on 21% higher revenue.

The company posted earnings of $18.2 million, or $0.88 a share. This was up from $4.8 million or $0.23 a share the year before.

Operating revenues were up 21.3% while operating expenses were down 1.2%. The airline saw operating income soar 373.6%.

And remember what the price of oil was doing during the fourth quarter. Then remember that yes, these are the guys who fly those gas-guzzling Maddogs. (MD-80s).

Load factor? Up a sizzling 8.8 points over the fourth quarter of 2007 — to 86.5%.

And the astonishing results just continue to go on and on and on.

I’ll take a full look at the airline’s results and talk about their earnings call in this week’s PBB.

In the meantime, kudos to the management at Allegiant. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again — this is one of the few management teams in this industry that knows who they are, what their business model is, and how their airline makes money. Or doesn’t.