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Allegiant’s Big-Time Expansion

Over a period of a few days, Allegiant announced some major expansions:

  • The most important is the establishment of Oakland, CA, as an important “major travel destination” city serving the San Francisco Bay Area. New flights—mostly two a week, in Allegiant’s usual pattern—will link Oakland with two of its other major destinations, Bellingham and Mesa (for Phoenix), plus the “spoke” cities of Eugene, Medford, and Redmond/Bend, OR; Billings, Bozeman, Kalispell, and Missoula, MT; and Idaho Falls, ID. Although some of these points already have service to/from San Francisco on a high-fare regional line, none has any low-fare service to any of the three Bay Area airports. Oakland-Mesa flights have already started; others will get going on various dates over the next three months.
  • Cities with recently announced new service to Florida include Gary, IN, (for the Chicago area) and Salisbury, MD, the “commercial hub of the Delmarva Peninsula.” The airline has already moved into several eastern airports that have lost or will lose AirTran flights, and you can expect it to move into several of the others where Southwest’s latest just-announced closures will result in loss of AirTran Florida service.

Allegiant generally pursues a very aggressive expansion strategy, quickly moving in on what it sees as potentially good targets. It applies an equally aggressive contraction strategy, quickly cutting off routes that don’t generate a satisfactory level of profits.

Most of these cities—for all I know, all of them—have begged Allegiant to provide low-fare flights to the Bay Area, routes they claim to “need.” Now it’s up to these cities to generate enough traffic to keep Allegiant happy. I suspect that at least a few of them won’t make the grade, but we’ll see what happens.

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