An Allegiant A320 in the current livery seen at Kansas City International. - Photo: C.T. Thongklin

An Allegiant A320 in the current livery, seen at Kansas City International – Photo: C.T. Thongklin

Late last month Allegiant announced plans to acquire twelve new Airbus A320s. Airlines make fleet announcements often, but this one was of particular significance for a number of reasons.

Allegiant’s order for new A320s:

First, this order for brand-new planes, direct from Airbus, signals a change in standard operating procedure for the Las Vegas-based ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC). Historically, Allegiant had shirked the trend of its ULCC peers, both domestically and abroad, of adopting fuel-efficient, modern aircraft. Instead, the airline has had a well-known preference for less costly mid-to-late life secondhand McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series planes. Cheaper planes equate to lower fares, and higher margins. This concept is not new; many budget carriers have used that model and benefited greatly from it (some have not). Allegiant is no exception. The airline is so well known for this preference, in fact, that few realize that the airline began acquiring Airbus aircraft in 2013. I myself was surprised to learn that the number of available seat miles flown by Allegiant’s Airbus fleet is nearly tied with that of their larger McDonnell Douglas fleet. Jude Bricker, Allegiant Travel Company senior vice president of planning, confirms expectations that the Airbus fleet will tip the scales by the close of 2016.

Older, used Airbus planes are known for being attractively priced. This is something Allegiant saw as early as 2012 when the airline announced plans to acquire its first batch of A319s. Then-President Andrew C. Levy stated, “A319 asset values have significantly declined and now mirror the environment we saw when we first began buying MD-80s.” While Airbus has focused much of its attention on pushing its newer and higher priced NEO (new engine option) models, it seems existing Airbus variants and future current engine option (CEO) deliveries are well positioned to become as ubiquitous as the much loved, budget friendly, long-lived MD-80s they are slowly but steadily replacing.

Allegiant’s newest (employee-approved) livery iteration:

Alongside this announcement, the airline unveiled plans for an incremental livery modification. Two final contenders were chosen, and employees were given an option to vote on which would be adopted.

Allegiant announces A320 purchase and new livery candidates. - Image: Allegiant's Facebook

Allegiant announces A320 purchase and new livery candidates – Image: Allegiant’s Facebook

Which did the employees choose?

This can be all yours - Photo: AirlineReporter

This can be all yours – Photo: AirlineReporter

Do you want to win a Qatar Airways Airbus A380 model? Of course you do! Lucky for you, we have one and we are looking to give it a new home. All you need to do is make sure you are following us on Twitter, and then retweet our contest tweet and you are eligible. The contest will be open until 5:00 p.m. PDT on Friday, August 26th and at that point we will randomly pick from the valid entries. Here, I will make it easy for you with the official tweet below:

(not so) FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can you please give me more details about the model?
Yes. It is a 1:200-sized model (a.k.a. big — 14.5″ long, 16″ wingspan). I can’t tell who makes it, but it has a fancy wooden stand. It’s registration number is A7-APA, which makes it the 137th A380 built, and it first flew in June 2013. 

Wait, is this a used model?
The photo is of my personal model. The one we are giving away is brand new, in box. We can be model buddies.  

Who is eligible?
If you have a Twitter account and follow the rules — you are. I will ship it anywhere in the world to the winner. 

Does the model actually fly?
Yes. Once.

I work for Delta, can I win?
Of course. As long as you proudly display it at work. 

Does this come with subsidies?
Ha… funny, but no they are not included. 

Can you just declare me the winner?
Yes I can. Will I? No.

I don’t have Twitter?
That sucks. Sorry, you need to do this on Twitter to win. It’s free to sign up!

Can I enter on Snapchat?
What’s Snapchat?

It is a fun app where you can take photos and make yourself a princess or a panda bear that cries rainbows — that work?
Um… no. 

Can I just leave a comment on this story?
Sure… I probably will even reply to your comment, but it won’t enter you into the contest.

Can you wish me luck?
Good luck!

It's nice when the plane tells you the article's title - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

It’s nice when the plane tells you the article’s title – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Roughly five years ago, ANA took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner. More than that, it was the first 787 to enter commercial service.

Twenty million passengers, three hundred thousand flying hours, and one hundred twenty five thousand flights later, they are now at fifty. That calls for a party.

ANA's newest 787-9 is also their 50th - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

ANA’s newest 787-9 is also their 50th – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

ANA, took this event as an opportunity to reflect on their involvement with the 787 program.

Clearly, they love it. Though the initial order was for fifty, they now have a further 33 coming after this one. Compared to the 767, this aircraft saves them 98 million U.S. Dollars a year in fuel and 20% in maintenance.  These figures are why ANA has been able to use the 787 to open markets that did not seem previously possible. Soon, they will fly to Phnom Penh Cambodia; but the big news is Mexico City.

An Air Transat Airbus A330 - Photo: Carib | FlickrCC

An Air Transat Airbus A330 – Photo: Carib | FlickrCC

I recently had the opportunity to fly Air Transat’s Club Class on their service from Manchester to Vancouver using an Airbus A330-200.

Club Class on Air Transat is more equal to premium economy on other European carriers, or World Traveller Plus on British Airways; it is not a true business class. That said, there are only two rows of seats in a 2-2-2 configuration, the seats sport a 36-inch pitch, and there is a dedicated cabin crew member; all this makes the cabin feel very personal.

From Manchester to Vancouver - Photo: GCMap.com

From Manchester to Vancouver – Photo: GCMap.com

Although my flight did not depart until mid-day, I arrived very early at the check-in area which turned out to be a mistake. On a Friday morning, Air Transat also has a flight to Toronto that departs an hour before the Vancouver service. This meant that my flight was not yet open. After a 30-minute wait I was ready to check in. Although Club Class has its own desk, passengers still had to join a general melee to be processed and have passports checked by the handling agent’s security personnel. Having overcome this early problem, the rest of the processing was quick and the staff were polite.