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?

#TeamA wins. Allegiant's new livery, as decided by their employees. - Image: Allegiant

#TeamA wins. Allegiant’s new livery, as decided by their employees. – Image: Allegiant

From a design perspective, both liveries are incremental adjustments over the existing “Sunburst Tail” livery. After a quick polling period, the airline quietly announced that the new livery will be comprised of the forward leaning sun-stripes, represented by concept “A” above.

BONUS: PHOTOS OF THE FIRST AIRBUS A319 IN ALLEGIANT AIR’S LIVERY

The choice will likely come as a relief to enthusiasts (this writer included) who have a general distaste for the growing proliferation of “Eurowhite” liveries which have slowly crept into the North American skies. However, more non-white paint and increased complexity typically equates to higher costs, and longer paint shop time, something Allegiant and their industry peers have become experts at avoiding.

An A319 inaugurates MHK-AZA service shortly after Allegiant began operating the type. This plane presumably pulled from the paint shop premature. - Photo: JL Johnson

An A319 inaugurates MHK-AZA service shortly after Allegiant began operating the type. This plane presumably pulled from the paint shop prematurely. – Photo: JL Johnson

Allegiant has in the past struggled with updated liveries, such as the “Travel is our deal” iteration. The photo above, taken in November 2013 shows a (then) newly acquired, and partially painted A319 used to inaugurate service from the small Kansas town of Manhattan to Phoenix, Arizona. N310NV continued to fly with partial paint for nearly a year before finding the time to visit the shop for completion.

Upon contacting the airline for comment on the updated livery and roll-out plans, Brandon Myers, Public Relations Specialist confirmed the newest iteration of the livery will be used as the go-forward standard for future deliveries, including the 12 new A320 CEOs. While a timeline for receiving these new planes is not yet available, the company has shared their aggressive plans to transition to an Airbus-only airline by 2019 on at least a few occasions.

BONUS: FLYING ON AN ALLEGIANT MD-83 TO ST PETERSBURG & BACK

In any case, there is no better time to get out and enjoy the excitement of flying on a classic “mad dog.” Do it while you still can; the MD-80’s days are limited.

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SENIOR CORRESPONDENT – LEE’S SUMMIT, MO. JL is a self described “medium shot” at a non-aviation industry Fortune-500. He’s a semi-frequent traveler, social media addict and avid planespotter. A proud Midwesterner, he’s based in Lee’s Summit, MO, a suburb of Kansas City. Email: jl@airlinereporter.com

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An AvGeek Plane Marathon with Aurigny
21 Comments

Great post. I like the new look myself, but I think I would have chosen the back leaning sun stripes (B). I don’t know why, but that one seems to make the plane look longer. Is that just me, or does anyone else see that too?

Phoenix

You’re not the only one. It’s a known visual illusion and it works 🙂

JL Johnson

I completely understand where you are coming from. While I think I like the one they picked the better option, there’s something about the livery being “backwards” that I just can’t shake. This change makes it worse.

JL | AirlineReporter

I agree with you Andrew… mainly for the same reason. It’s already a short, stubby looking plane, so any livery to stretch the look is better. But either way, the new livery is way better than the past.

Gregory Ford

Andrew

MOOC – 3.1 – Reading Assignments and Resources

August 25, 2016

AIRLINE REPORTER: Allegiant Announces Planes and an Employee – Approved livery
By JL Johnson
Hello Andrew, the exterior graphic design and paint color is different on aircraft A and aircraft B. Aircraft A and aircraft B exterior graphic design and paint colors’ both have different visual affects’ because, the exterior paint color on the posterior of fuselage A – is blue; that has a visual effect on the aircraft to appear smaller.
Compared to the exterior paint color on the posterior of fuselage B -is white, that has a visual effect on the aircraft, to appear larger.
Thus, aircraft A’s fuselage – exterior- anterior section appears larger because, of the white paint compared to the exterior – posterior section that appears smaller because, of the painted blue.
Good post.

Gregory Ford

Gregory Ford
Andrew
MOOC – 3.1 – Reading Assignments and Resources
August 25, 2016
AIRLINE REPORTER: Allegiant Announces Planes and an Employee – Approved livery
By JL Johnson
Hello Andrew, the exterior graphic design and paint color is different on aircraft A and aircraft B. Aircraft A and aircraft B exterior graphic design and paint colors’ both have different visual affects’ because, the exterior paint color on the posterior of fuselage A – is blue; that has a visual effect on the aircraft to appear smaller.
Compared to the exterior paint color on the posterior of fuselage B -is white, that has a visual effect on the aircraft, to appear larger.
Thus, aircraft A’s fuselage – exterior- anterior section appears larger because, of the white paint compared to the exterior – posterior section that appears smaller because, of the painted blue.
Good post.
Gregory Ford

I sincerely wish Allegiant all the luck in the world with their Airbus purchase. But I for one will pay more to fly other airlines. My experience with Allegiant was far from stellar last February (2016) when I experienced horrible delays and an emergency landing into Birmingham due to aircraft malfunctions. All this in the same week on the Omaha to St. Pete/Clearwater route and back.

Phoenix

Second-hand A319/A320s were attractive back in 2012 when oil was >$120 a barrel and U/LCCs couldn’t get rid of the older thirstier revisions fast enough. Now with oil barely half that buying ceos brand-new is almost a might-as-well proposition with other U/LCCs holding onto their older aircraft and keeping them in service.

As much as I’ll miss the MD-83 and -88s (I flew one of Allegiant’s a few years ago) the A319 and A320s, whether bought brand-new or second-hand, will improve Allegiant’s dispatch reliability.

Just curious, aren’t the Boeing 737-700 and 800 ore economical on fuel than the Airbus 320 and 321?
And can’t the Boeing accommodate more pax than the Airbus, economical class?
Last question, Is it true that pilots, in general, prefer flying Boeing Aircraft than Airbus aircraft?

Phoenix

> aren’t the Boeing 737-700 and 800 ore economical on fuel than the Airbus 320 and 321?
> And can’t the Boeing accommodate more pax than the Airbus, economical class?

The 737-700 and -800 are smaller aircraft with lower payloads and MTOW than the A320 and A321, respectively, so it’s not an oranges-to-oranges comparison. Only thing I’ve heard is that the 737-800 fully loaded is just so slightly cheaper to operate per seat-mile than the A320 only due to the few extra warm bodies that can be shoehorned aboard the Boeing.

Size- and seat count-wise, 737-700 ~< A319 < A320 ~< 737-800 < 737-900ER Last question, Is it true that pilots, in general, prefer flying Boeing Aircraft than Airbus aircraft?

One would have to take a poll to find out for sure 🙂 Yes I know there is the saying “If it ain’t Boeing I ain’t going” but I suspect most pilots simply certify for and fly whatever is in their employer airlines’ fleet.

Phoenix

I meant: Size- and seat count-wise, 737-700 ~< A319 < A320 ~< 737-800 < 737-900ER Last question, Is it true that pilots, in general, prefer flying Boeing Aircraft than Airbus aircraft?

(weird place for the comment system to mangle my comment…)

JL Johnson

The Boeing vs. Airbus discussion is one that will likely never die. I won’t pick a side BUT Airbus has really upped their game over the past few decades. Boeing has a reputation for arrogance, and I think that has hurt them. They were the clear leader not long ago, and now Airbus has caught up and in many cases has more compelling offerings. One thing I really like about the Airbus product is a slightly larger fuselage means more room for slightly wider seats, and better aisle room.

Thanks for reading, Henri.

JL | AirlineReporter

Rebecca A Churchill

Had a great flight to Orlando/Sanford from Bentonville,AR in April and May 2016. —Just make sure you get all you need when booking or it will cost you more!!

Krill siluroid

I’ve flown Allegiant many times and was blessed with no equipment problems and on time arrivals out of airport code PIE. After reading about all the mishaps they have its led me to believe that Allegiant issues are not really fleet equipment related, it’s manpower, training and compliance related. Bringing in the airbuses will be nice from a passenger comfort aspect, but if everything else stays the same, it will be same results.

Alastair Long

Great article, JL. I agree with you on the livery point – the more colourful the better. I’m genuinely curious as to why it is called “Eurowhite” though? Found a couple of articles on the evolution of aircraft livery and the odd commentary here and there about it stemming from Air France and Lufthansa designs in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but no definitive answer.

Phoenix

Good question indeed!

The only cites I’ve found are http://dictionary.sensagent.com/EUROWHITE/en-en/ and https://thedesignair.net/2013/11/04/the-evolution-of-the-design-of-eurowhite-aircraft/

Seems like it popularized from a) quick logo switchovers on subleased aircraft and b) energy and cost savings from fuselages not heating up as quickly under the sun and white paint taking longer to fade. So economical reasons more than aesthetic.

JL Johnson

I tried to get to the bottom of it a few years ago and came up with nothing of real substance. I have to assume it’s one of those things that is just known, likely stemming from planespotting forums. Many of the earliest samples of the portmanteau I found were on Airliners.net. Whether or not the Europeans were the catalyst, they are stuck with the blame, it seems. Thanks for reading.

JL | AirlineReporter

Andy Butler

I thought the current livery looked a bit familiar –

https://img.planespotters.net/photo/259000/original/g-gdfd-jet2-boeing-737-8k5wl_PlanespottersNet_259513.jpg

Jet2 are a British low cost carrier and this livery is used on some of their aircraft to advertise their package holiday operation.

Jet2 did in fact “steal” that livery from Alegiant, after they leased a couple of 757’s off them, and decided they actually rather liked the colours!

Alex Gregory

Flew Plattsburg to Orlando/Sanford on a MD 80. Cabin design , seats, luggage bins, hand rails, flight crew, airport process, made make flying Allegiant fantastic.

Been flying with Allegiant when they used Fokker frequently. Always smooth flights even in bad weather. Concerned about the airbus’s as their ride quality stinks even in good weather. Not sure if it is the automation causing it but also heard they have struggled to keep up with Boeing on wing design. Now back to Allegiant. Very smooth trips in air recently on the MD 80s but on the ground another story just awful horrible service. Long waits everywhere always late taking off and landing extremely late and they are coming into underserved airports. Talking 30-90 minutes last 6 flights with them sitting on tarmac both on takeoff and waiting for jetport. Getting on and off planes has been slow too with excessive turnaround when on the returning flight.

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