Allegiant posts profit, says shutdown delayed plane deliveries

Reuters

Oct 23 (Reuters) - Allegiant Travel Co, a low-costcarrier that serves leisure destinations, posted a 1 percentincrease in third-quarter profit on Wednesday, aided by higheraverage fares and lower fuel costs.

The carrier said the two-week U.S. government shutdown woulddelay the introduction of seven Airbus A320 planes intoits fleet because required regulatory work to acquire theaircraft was not able to be completed. With the shutdown nowover, Allegiant said it expects to have some of the seven planesin operation before the end of the year.

Allegiant has just over 60 planes in its fleet, includingMD-80s made by McDonnell Douglas, which Boeing acquiredin 1997, Airbus A319 planes and Boeing 757s.

For the third quarter net income rose to $17.1 million, or91 cents a share, compared with $16.9 million, or 87 cents ashare, a year earlier.

Analysts expected profit of 90 cents a share on average,according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Operating expenses rose 6 percent, pressured by costs ofabout $2 million tied to disruptions in service in wake of thegrounding of roughly half the carrier's planes in September toinspect emergency exit slides. Fuel costs fell nearly 1 percent.

Allegiant said the slide inspections, which were needed tocomply with safety guidelines, raised lease-rental, overtime andother costs as it made arrangements to use airplanes of othercarriers to ease the disruption from flight cancellations.

Quarterly revenue rose 5.5 percent to $228.9 million. Theaverage fare was $130.99, up about 5 percent.

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