Allegiant to begin A319 flights in April

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Allegiant Air plans to begin flights on the Airbus A319 in April 2013, following the completion of US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) modifications and certification.

The Las Vegas-based low-cost carrier has the aircraft in the schedule for April but hopes to begin flights in March, says Jude Bricker, senior vice-president of planning and treasurer at Allegiant, on the sidelines of the Ascend Aviation Finance Forum in San Francisco today.

"We don't need it until summer, [but] we hope to begin service earlier," he says.

The A319 will be used for growth. Bricker says that new markets will include high and hot airfields - for example those in Mexico - and ones in the Rocky Mountain region.

Allegiant has previously said new destinations could include Charlottesville and Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and Trenton, New Jersey.

Transcontinental routes for the A319s are still up in the air. Bricker says that the new flight between Las Vegas and Plattsburgh, New York, is a "test" long-haul route for Allegiant, with additional transcontinental markets depending on its performance.

"With high fuel prices, it's hard to make long-haul work," he says, adding that revenue per mile declines and the amount of competition increases on longer routes across the USA.

Allegiant will begin twice-weekly flights between Las Vegas and Plattsburgh from 19 December.