Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

Allegiant Air CEO Resigns, Former Chief Gallagher Returns

8 months ago

Former Allegiant Air CEO Maurice Gallagher is returning to the top job at the budget airline following the sudden departure of CEO John Redmond.

Gallagher, who was Las Vegas-based Allegiant’s CEO from 2003 through 2022, takes the reins immediately. He is currently the airline’s chairman. Redmond, Allegiant said, resigned effective immediately.

Allegiant did not say why Redmond left.

“I am grateful to the board for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this incredible organization,” Redmond said in a statement.

Maurice Gallagher, Allegiant’s chairman, has returned as its CEO. (Allegiant Air)

Allegiant, which includes both its namesake airline plus the new Sunseeker Resort in Florida, and a travel business, has emerged from the pandemic stronger than many of its budget peers in the U.S. In the second quarter, it generated a $122 million operating profit excluding special items and an 18.6% operating margin. Spirit Airlines, the largest U.S. discounter, turned a 3.3% operating margin and Frontier Airlines an 8.2% margin.

And the outlook for Allegiant looks good. In the second half of the year — the airline does not provide third quarter guidance — it forecasts a solid profit on flat to 3% capacity growth.

Frontier and Spirit, which are growing capacity by double digits, forecast losses in the third quarter.

“We have built a management team headed by Greg Anderson, president, and many other talented and dedicated executives that is among the best in the industry,” Gallagher said in a statement. “This team is well-positioned to lead the company as we continue to set the standard for the U.S. leisure travel sector.”

Airlines

U.S. Unveils New Airline Customer Service Portal

2 years ago

Air travelers in the U.S. now have a one-stop shop when it comes to knowing what airlines will provide them with in the event of a lengthy flight delay or cancellation.

The new Airline Customer Service Dashboard by the Department of Transportation is designed to “ensure the traveling public has easy access” to airline commitments in the event of a disrupted trip, the regulator said Thursday. The commitments, which are largely a list of existing airline policies compiled together in one place, only apply to “controllable” events, or one where the airline is at fault, for example staff shortages.

(DOT)

“Passengers deserve transparency and clarity on what to expect from an airline when there is a cancelation or disruption,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “This dashboard collects that information in one place so travelers can easily understand their rights, compare airline practices, and make informed decisions.”

For example, if a travelers flight is delayed more than three hours due to a mechanical problem with the aircraft, the dashboard shows that they are guaranteed a meal voucher on almost all major airlines except Allegiant Air. However, if their flight is cancelled, only American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines will rebook them on another carrier.

“Carriers welcome opportunities to simplify travel policies, clarify existing practices and increase transparency for travelers,” a spokesperson for trade group Airlines for America said.

The new dashboard follows a spike in flight delays and cancellations earlier this year that resulted in a blame game between airlines and authorities. While acknowledging their own staffing issues, airlines have claimed that air traffic control staffing has exacerbated the situation while the DOT has argued that the situation is primarily the fault airlines and weather. Whatever the reason, the regulator has moved to improve airline passenger protections, including a new rule that would guarantee cash refunds.

View the Airline Customer Service Dashboard

Airlines

Toledo Largest U.S. City to Lose Air Service Due to Pilot Shortage

2 years ago

Toledo, Ohio, has the unfortunate distinction of being the largest U.S. city, and one of the first, to entirely lose air service on a network carrier due to the pilot shortage.

American Airlines will end flights to Toledo from Chicago O’Hare on September 7 citing the “regional pilot staffing shortage,” a spokesperson confirmed Thursday. With American’s departure, Toledo will lose its sole connection to the global airline network — in other words, there are no longer one-stop flight connections to Los Angeles, New York, or Tokyo. Allegiant Air will continue to serve Toledo but the discounter serves a leisure traveler niche of people that only want to go to Orlando or Phoenix, and not further afield.

(MrJacon000/Wikimedia)

Other airports have lost air service since U.S. airlines began reporting a shortage of pilots last year. For example, American dropped Williamsport, Pa. — a city of less than 28,000 people in 2021, according to the U.S. Census — from its map in September 2021, Cirium schedules show. But most have either lost a network carrier, primarily United Airlines, or nonstop flights but retained other air service. In addition, the 29 airports that SkyWest Airlines is exiting are all part of the U.S. government’s essential air service program that mandates a replacement — like Southern Airways Express — be found before SkyWest ends flights.

Toledo is a unique case. Long the headquarters for Jeep and a decent size metropolis of more than 260,000 people, it is sandwiched between two much larger airports: Detroit at just over an 1 hour distant and Cleveland two hours away, according to Google Maps. So the loss of American is not a huge blow in the scheme of things but, with regional pilot costs rapidly rising, it hints at things to come.