Allegiant Travel says ‘worst’ of the pandemic over as results beat target By Reuters

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(Reuters) – Low-cost airline Allegiant Travel Co sailed past estimates for fourth-quarter revenue and profit on Wednesday, and said bookings for leisure travel had started to see a recovery heading into the summer.

Companies in the sector are growing more confident that travel will return despite on-and-off restrictions in response to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“Despite the Omicron variant, forward bookings are strong for upcoming peak leisure travel periods,” Chief Executive Officer Maurice Gallagher said in a statement, adding that spring break bookings have been particularly robust.

Allegiant’s operations were earlier hampered by crew shortages due to Omicron’s spread, but Gallagher said he expects that to normalize in time for peak travel in March.

“Case counts have started to recede, thus the worst should be behind us,” he said.

Larger carriers American Airlines (NASDAQ:) and United Airlines have also said that a recovery in passenger traffic was likely in March.

In the fourth quarter, Allegiant doubled its revenue to $496.9 million, higher than analysts’ average estimate of $482.3 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Net income came in at $10.7 million, or 59 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $28.8 million, or $1.79 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.18 per share, surpassing expectations of $1.17.

Shares of the U.S. low-cost carrier rose 1% in after-market trade.

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