Allegiant receives first US-assembled A320 for all-Airbus fleet
Allegiant Air on May 23, 2018, took delivery of its first U.S.-produced A320 aircraft from the Airbus manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama, U.S. The ultra-low cost carrier is currently under transition to an all-Airbus fleet. The move will help to improve the age of the carrier’s fleet, from the current average of 17 years, and hopefully shut down concerns over technical and safety problems inside the airline due to its aging aircraft.
The new aircraft is the 11th of a total of 13 A320s scheduled for purchase from the plane maker and to be introduced into Allegiant's fleet in 2018, the airline states. So why is this delivery particularly significant? According to Allegiant, it is the airline’s first-in-fleet U.S.-made Airbus jet. Its previously inducted Airbus aircraft were assembled in the plane maker’s facilities in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany. This one – in Mobile, Alabama.
The delivery was hailed “an exciting milestone” by the airline’s CEO and chairman, Maury Gallagher, as it is yet another step in Allegiant's planned transition to a single fleet type by the end of 2018. According to him, an all-Airbus fleet will allow to increase efficiencies across the airline’s entire operation, including training, scheduling and maintenance, as well as bring economic advantages, regarding greater fuel efficiency and additional seat capacity.
Why is it significant for Airbus? According to the European plane maker, its manufacturing facility in Mobile is delivering the A320 Family planes at a rate of four per month, the latest Allegiant delivery marking the plant’s 69th jet delivered since operations began in 2015. The news is a way of highlighting Airbus manufacturing capabilities. Airbus aircraft are currently produced at facilities in Mobile, Alabama; Hamburg, Germany; Toulouse, France; and Tianjin, China. The Mobile area has seen many Airbus suppliers open new facilities in the region, boosting the local economy, the plane maker says.
Coming back to the Las Vegas-based carrier, Allegiant says it currently has a total of 99 Airbus jetliners either in service or scheduled for future delivery. It operates A320 Family narrow-bodies consisting of A319s (156-seat configuration) and A320s (177-seat configuration). The airline still operates McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft: MD-83s and MD-88s. They are to be retired by November 2018. Allegiant also used to fly Boeing 757s, which have been stored for several years now, Planespotters show.
More importantly, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer, Allegiant's MD-80s fleet has an average age of a staggering near 30 years. A vast majority of its MD-80 fleet is composed of second-hand planes. The overall average age of the carrier's current all-jet fleet is about 17 years. Not very flattering.
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