Allegiant Travel Co. went back to black last year as air travel rebounded from the pandemic.
The Las Vegas-based parent company of Allegiant Air on Wednesday reported earnings of $151.9 million, $8.68 per share, in 2021, a whopping 182.5% increase from a loss of $184.1 million, $11.53 per share, in 2020.
In total, the company generated $1.7 billion in revenue last year, up 72.5% from 2020, and reported more than $1.4 billion in expenses, up 13 .7% year over year.
Maurice Gallagher, president and CEO of Allegiant, said in a press release that at the end of the year, its operations were “challenged by the impacts of the Omicron variant” of the coronavirus, and that It was facing “unprecedented crew shortages due to COVID, causing flights to be canceled during the peak holiday travel season and persisting through January.”
But the ultra-low-cost carrier still increased the number of passengers and departures last year. It carried 13.6 million passengers in 2021, up 58.1% from 2020, and recorded 117,047 departures, up 33.1% year-on-year.
“The number of cases has started to decline, so the worst should be behind us,” Gallagher said, noting that he expects operations “to return to a more normalized state in time for the peak in travel in March”.
He said bookings were strong for upcoming leisure travel periods, particularly spring break.
Allegiant is known for flying from small, underserved towns to hot-weather vacation spots, usually without competition on its routes.
It had posted 17 consecutive years of profit before the pandemic hit.
Despite returning to profitability, Allegiant’s revenue and passenger numbers remain below levels seen in 2019, the year before the coronavirus outbreak devastated the tourism industry.
In 2019, the company reported net income of $232.1 million and carried just over 15 million passengers.
Last month, Allegiant announced it was buying dozens of new Boeing planes as it expanded beyond its all-Airbus fleet and history of buying used planes.
When the deal was announced, Allegiant said the new planes would burn around 20% less fuel than older Airbus A320s and offer increased seating capacity.