We've heard that they planned on parking the 757 fleet while they re-tooled their strategy. We've also heard that they would be leasing out the aircraft until they could start their Hawaii flights.
In order for Allegiant to start flying their new type of aircraft (Boeing 757), not only does the FAA Certification Process need to be approved, but also they need to start training Pilots on the 757. We believe that the FAA Certification Process is well under way. We think that there were some initial concerns in the industry and Allegiant had to rethink their process, which is why the Certification Process has taken so long.
Our hunch is that Pilot training is either under way, or shortly will be taking place within the next 2 months. Once pending approval has been given by the FAA, Allegiant can begin proving runs of the 757 aircraft.
So here's our questions - 1.) What destinations do we think could see a visit from an Allegiant 757 and 2.) When will Hawaii service finally start?
1) What destinations do we think could see a visit from an Allegiant 757 this summer?
1. Gerald Ford International Airport, Grand Rapids, MI (GRR)
We think that GRR is an excellent fit for Allegiant 757 service. Allegiant has 2-3 MD-80 aircraft based in GRR currently. Allegiant has Pilots, Flight Attendants & Maintenance Personnel currently employed & based in Grand Rapids. Current non-stop destinations are SFB, PGD, PIE, FLL, IWA & LAS.
We think that if Allegiant were to fly the 757 into GRR, we could see flights to SFB & LAX non-stop from GRR. We think this is only temporary though - it'd be a long stretch for Hawaii flying from Michigan on a narrow-body like the 757.
Long Term Hawaii Plans
1. LGB - Long Beach International Airport
Why Long Beach? Slots. Allegiant was rewarded slots in LGB in 2010. Their long-term plans we believe would be to fly from LGB-Hawaii. In order to be able to use these slots in 2012, they need to fill the void, by currently flying to tropical destinations such as Idaho Falls, ID (IDA) and the ill-fated Stockton, CA (SCK). Once the Pacific flying begins, we don't believe that there will be much 48-state flying out of LGB for Allegiant.
What other airports do we think will see Allegiant 757 service starting in July? Stay tuned for our thoughts over the next few days