Allegiant sees continued RASM growth; approves stock repurchase programme; to add 16 seats to MD-80s


US airline stocks generally gained on Monday on positive economic reports, with Allegiant leading the way, with a 5.1% share price jump.

Also yesterday, Allegiant Travel Company Board of Directors approved an expansion of its stock repurchase programme, having authorised the repurchase of an additional USD50 million of the company's stock.

As recently as Jul-2010, the company had announced a USD25 million increase in stock repurchase authority. As of early Sep-2010, the company had completed the repurchases under this previously approved authority. The company has been repurchasing shares since 2008, having purchased 578,000 shares in 2008 for USD16.7 million, 661,000 shares in 2009 for USD25.4 million, and 1.1 million shares in 2010 to date for USD50 million. 

In other Allegiant news, the carrier reported continued RASM and TRASM growth, of 4.0% and 3.7%, respectively, with the carrier expecting continued growth in Aug-2010, of 5.85-6.15% and 3.75-4.05%.

The carrier reported passenger growth of 16% in the month to 539,655 with scheduled revenue services increasing 23% to 517,680, with an average load factor of 87.2% (-0.1 ppts). Allegiant expects scheduled capacity (ASMs) growth of 22% in Sep-2010. Scheduled capacity growth of 13-15% is anticipated for the fourth quarter, with this expected to slow to 2-5% growth in 1Q2011.

In other Allegiant news, the carrier commenced a project to add 16 seats to its fleet of 150-seat MD-80 series aircraft. The company currently operates 48 such aircraft and owns nine additional MD-80 aircraft, which it plans to introduce into service in 2011 and 2012. Allegiant also operates three 130-seat MD-87 aircraft which will not be reconfigured.

Allegiant plans to invest up to USD50 million in capital under this project, which includes substantial cabin redesign such as removal of galleys. The first aircraft is expected to be converted in the 3Q2011, with completion of the last aircraft by the end of 2012.

Selected LCCs daily share price movements (% change): 13-Sep-2010

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