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Allegiant Air adds seats faster than new passengers

Allegiant Air did not attract new passengers as quickly as it put new seats in the air during December.

The airline, a unit of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co., carried 597,000 passengers on both scheduled and charter flights during the month, a gain of 7.1 percent from 2011. Due to longer flights and larger planes, the number of miles each seat had a paying passenger in it rose 12.2 percent to 584.1 million.

However, the number of miles all the seats flew went up 16.1 percent. As a result, the occupancy level called load factor dropped to 83.8 percent from 86.7 percent.

All of the growth rates were lower than in the fourth quarter or the entire year.

Passenger fares on a per mile basis were estimated to decline about 7 percent for the month, but was Shares of Allegiant Travel Co., which is traded on the Nasdaq, fell $1.32, or 1.69 percent, to close at $76.59.

Analyst James Parker of the brokerage Raymond James & Co. said the results revealed “weak leisure demand,” but that other factors such as lower per mile costs largely offset it.

He reiterated a “strong buy” recommendation.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at
[email protected] or 702-387-5290.

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