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Allegiant to add more seats to MD-80s

Allegiant Travel Company is beginning a project to add 16 seats to each of its fleet of 150-seat MD-80s, bringing the total number of saleable seats to 166 on each aircraft.

The company currently operates 48 such aircraft and owns nine additional MD-80s, which it plans to introduce into service in 2011 and 2012. Allegiant also operates three 130-seat MD-87 aircraft which will not be re-configured.

Allegiant expects to invest up to $50 million in capital under this project, which includes substantial cabin re-design work such as removal of galleys. The first aircraft is expected to be converted in the third quarter of 2011, with completion of the last aircraft by the end of 2012.

"These added seats will allow us to grow our capacity with the least amount of risk," explained Andrew Levy, Allegiant’s president. "This project effectively increases our capacity by 11% while lowering our cost per seat. In addition, we expect to fund this through internally generated cash-flow.

"This new investment in the MD-80 fleet is a sign of our commitment to the aircraft for years to come. It is unquestionably the best aircraft for our business for flights of up to four hours of duration," concluded Levy.

The additional seats will also result in job growth at Allegiant since a fourth flight attendant, up from the current staff of three, will be required on the 166-seat configuration aircraft.

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