Allegiant’s chief operations officer resigns

Allegiant Air pilots picket in front of Allegiant Air headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in Summerlin. Pilots, represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union, have been in contract negations with the company for two years, a union representative said.

After a year on the job, one of Allegiant Air’s top executives is stepping down.

The Las Vegas-based airline announced today that Steve Harfst, chief operating officer, has resigned.

Harfst started as COO of the ultra-low-cost carrier in January 2015 following the resignation of Allegiant’s president and chief operating officer, Andrew Levy, a few months earlier.

His departure is effective immediately, according to the news release, which did not say where the former naval aviator would go next.

“We thank Steve for his contributions to Allegiant,” Maurice “Maury” Gallagher, chairman and CEO of parent Allegiant Travel Co., said in the release. “We look forward to continuing his efforts to strengthen our operation.”

His departure comes after a turbulent year for the airline, which mainly flies people from small, underserved cities to warm-weather vacation spots, including Las Vegas.

Allegiant earned record profits in 2015 amid low fuel prices but was dogged by a series of emergency landings and other safety-related incidents that garnered national media attention. Its pilots also called for a strike in April but were blocked from walking off the job by the courts.

Allegiant’s once-high-flying stock also has dropped sharply in recent months amid a broader stock-market sell-off.

Shares of Allegiant Travel closed at $158.76 apiece today, down 32 percent from a peak of $233.98 in mid-August.

The company did not say who, if anyone, would replace Harfst, saying it would “use this leadership change as an opportunity to refocus on operational needs and areas for improvement.”

“Allegiant is committed to operational excellence and looks forward to continued progress in this area,” the news release said.