Allegiant received federal approval this week to operate Boeing 757s. The airline first announced its intention to use 757s in March 2010. At that time Allegiant said it intended to use the planes for the sole purpose of flying to Hawaii. Plans change and now Allegiant says it will use the seven-fives for some domestic trips. The airline still plans on flying to Hawaii, but before that can happen it has to get federal certification to fly the planes over the ocean. Making the seven five plunge is a huge step forward for Allegiant, the small, low-cost airline that specializes in providing service between small cities and major vacation destinations (Allegiant provides our service to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orlando and Tampa/St. Petersburg).
Why a huge step? Because it’s the first time the airline has broken with it’s business model of using MD-80 jets. MD-80s are long out of production and can be purchased for a song and dance. Using them is is one of the ways Allegiant has kept it’s operational expenses and fares so low. The 757 is a larger plane, more expensive to buy or lease, and a more expensive to operate. So why buy them? Simply put, because the MD-80 doesn’t have the range to get to Hawaii. Read the Allegiant 757 press release here.