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
Which did the employees choose?
LATAM’s new livery on the Boeing 787-9 – Image: LATAM
Today, LATAM announced their new unified branding, under which the LAN and TAM airline brands will be combined.
LATAM livery on the Airbus A350 – Image: LATAM
Today’s release confirms the livery rumors that savvy AvGeeks have seen floating around, including an in-the-wild spotting during the Boeing plant tour at this year’s Aviation Geek Fest.
Alaska employees cheer on the new livery
Earlier today, Alaska Airlines unveiled a new look, livery, and brand to 1,800 employees. The branding is noticeably different, but still is easily recognizable. Fresh, clean, and more of an evolution than revolution. I like it. I actually really like it.
BONUS: Checking out the new Boeing Space Bin on an Alaska 737
There have been rumors and talk (especially more recently) about moving to a new look, but it was uncertain how dramatic of a change it would be. Would the Eskimo stay around? Would the colors be the same? Heck… would the name “Alaska,” even be their name any more? It seemed everything was up in the air (heh).
The Alaska titles
The Eskimo stays
The nacelle sports the new colors
Before the official reveal to the employees, media was able to get a look at the plane (photos were embargoed until 3:30pm PST). My first thoughts… I think it is a great move. I also know that it seems that no matter how nice a livery might look, many AvGeeks automatically dislike change. I always say to wait a month or so before making final judgement. But I can say that I think many of you are going to like this new look and brand in person when you first see it.
Aerial photo of Etihad Airways’ first 787-9 Dreamliner at Paine Field – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
What a looker!
On Sunday night we were able to see the reveal of Etihad’s new livery in the darkness, but this photo not only lets us see it in light, but also from the air (doesn’t every plane/livery look better with an aerial view)?
Our Bernie Leighton had the opportunity to to get this shot, and his impression? He thought it was amazing, “The most distinguished looking 787.” Who am I to disagree? Now we just can’t wait to get a peek of that interior.