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Allegiant Changes Allegiance

Begins the Switch to Boeing With Order for 50 737 MAX

Allegiant Air has confirmed its plans to make the jump to the Boeing 737 MAX, setting to rest rumors that the previously all-Airbus fleet would be bolstered and even replaced by the Boeing competition. The first purchase of 50 comes at an estimated $5.5 billion if made at list price. 

Rumors of the impending purchase made the rounds to notes of surprise among many, the airline industry generally of the opinion that changing horses midstream causes more trouble than it's worth. Wiping the slate clean and rebuilding the logistical ecosystems in place for a completely new aircraft brand and type is a tall order, and even the mixed-fleet approach brings its own host of challenges. So far, Allegiant has relied on the purchase of older, used Airbus aircraft, but the increased economy of greater seating capacity and lower fuel burn have enticed the company to Boeing. Its current Airbus fleet includes 110 Airbus A319 and A320s, with nearly half of those suited for retirement in the coming decade. 

Allegiant says the stark about-face comes as the carrier sees one of the strongest recoveries out of all domestic U.S. Airlines, with bookings greater than even its 2019 levels. Boeing's aggressive salesmanship and high parts costs for the A220 have reportedly combined to make the deal possible. The order breakdown will see the purchase of 30 737 MAX 7 aircraft, and 20 MAX 8-200s. Allegiant will be the launch customer for that larger variant of the latter 737, set to take initial deliveries of the aircraft in 2023 with the last batches arriving in 2025. 

FMI: www.boeing.com

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