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Allegiant books big jump in profit as travel rebounds

With vacationers taking to the skies again, Allegiant Air’s parent company booked a sharp increase in profit last quarter even compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co. on Wednesday said it earned $95 million in net income in the three months ended June 30, compared with a $93.1 million loss during the same stretch last year and $70.5 million in profit in the same period in 2019.

The deep-discount airline flew 3.7 million passengers in the second quarter, up from about 1.3 million a year ago after the coronavirus outbreak devastated the tourism industry, but down from nearly 4.2 million passengers in the second quarter of 2019.

However, Allegiant slashed $61.2 million in expenses from its balance sheet last quarter thanks to federal payroll support funds established by the CARES Act coronavirus-relief measure.

Allegiant is known for flying from small, underserved cities to warm-weather vacation spots, usually without competition on its routes.

Chairman and CEO Maurice “Maury” Gallagher said in a news release that the second quarter “marked the return of leisure demand to pre-pandemic levels.”

“These results suggest we are close if not back to ‘normal’, where we were in the early days of 2020,” he said.

Allegiant, which reported a loss of $184.1 million for all of 2020, had booked 17 consecutive profitable years before the pandemic upended daily life, kept people home and away from crowds for fear of getting infected, and sparked huge job losses around the country.

In Las Vegas, tourism has surged back in recent months as vaccines rolled out, although the pandemic is by no means over as COVID-19 cases rise again.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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