Allegiant Air, an Ultra-Low Cost Carrier in the US, announced that it will lease Airbus A319s from GECAS and purchase more from The Philippines’ Cebu Air.
Update: Here is the Allegiant presentation. This confirms Allegiant is getting the four-exit, 156-passenger airplane.
Notably, Allegiant had this to say:
“The A319 is a new aircraft type for Allegiant, but we otherwise see this as a continuation of our existing business model,” said Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant President. “A319 asset values have significantly declined and now mirror the environment we saw when we first began buying MD-80s.”
Airbus issued this statement:
“A new operator is always great news, but it’s a grand endorsement of the Airbus product line when that operator is a growing low-cost carrier in one of the strongest markets in the world,” said Barry Eccleston, Airbus Americas President and Chief Executive Officer. “Allegiant is hyper conscious of both cost and comfort, and the fact they are turning to the A320 Family proves we have the aircraft the airline knows it needs to fly them successfully into the future.”
Allegiant has been operating the MD-80 with 150 seats and is increasing capacity to 160 (or 162). The A319 with wall-to-wall seating is around 150 and somewhat more if a second overwing exit were installed (as with easyJet).
Values of A319s have, as Allegiant noted, been falling in the last few years (so have those for Boeing 737-700s, though not quite as much). Lease rates, according to one lessor, hovers in the $100,000-$120,000 range for older A319s and 737-700s and even less for the oldest ones.