Magazine ranks Allegiant among top financial performers

David Becker / AP

In this Thursday, May 9, 2013, photo, a Southwest airliner comes in for a landing as a row of Allegiant Air jets are parked at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Allegiant Air, Las Vegas’ hometown carrier, is known for its cheap fares, frequent delays and numerous add-on fees.

But the airline also is a cash cow, and based on financial performance, it remains one of the best carriers in the world.

Aviation Week magazine recently published its annual study of top-performing airlines and named Allegiant’s parent, Allegiant Travel Co., No. 1 in North America and No. 2 in the world — inched out worldwide by Panama’s Copa Holdings.

This is the third consecutive year the magazine ranked Allegiant the best in North America and the second straight year it gave Allegiant the top spot globally for small airlines.

Last year, it named Allegiant the top-performing carrier in the world among all airline sizes.

The magazine, using data from the last full calendar year, said it scores airlines in four areas to compile its rankings: financial health, earnings performance, capital efficiency and business-model performance.

It only ranks publicly traded airlines.

In a news release today, Allegiant President and Chief Operating Officer Andrew Levy said the latest results are in part “a testament to our relentless dedication to building a consistently profitable company.”

Allegiant, profitable for 11 straight years, focuses on leisure travelers and connects smaller, underserved cities such as Missoula, Mont., and Fresno, Calif., with popular vacation spots like Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla.

By the end of last year, it had a fleet of 70 planes — mostly aging MD-80s that hold up to 166 passengers each — and flew 226 routes to and from 100 cities, according to a regulatory filing.

In the first quarter this year, the company earned $34 million in profit, up 7 percent from the same period in 2013, and flew 2 million passengers, up 11 percent.

It was its 45th consecutive profitable quarter, with Allegiant notching record highs in average fare ($99.52 per passenger), ancillary air-related charges ($41.79) and total fare ($146.51).