Allegiant Travel, corporate parent of Allegiant Air, posted sharply higher fourth-quarter and annual earnings on Wednesday, concluding 40 consecutive profitable quarters.
The Las Vegas-based company reported net income of $14.8 million, or 76 cents per share, for the quarter that ended on Dec. 31, up 36.6 percent from $10.8 million, or 56 cents per share, in the same period of 2011.
Allegiant Air, which serves The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, had total operating revenue of $222.8 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 14.9 percent from $193.9 million in the same quarter of 2011.
For the year, Allegiant Air posted net income of $78.6 million, or $4.06 per share, up 59.1 percent from $49.4 million, or $2.57 per share, in 2011. The airline had total operating revenue of $908.7 million in 2012, an increase of 16.6 percent from $779.1 million in 2011.
"In 2012, we recorded the highest system fuel cost per gallon we have ever paid for a full year," said Maurice Gallagher, chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel. "In spite of that, we were able to grow full year earnings per share over 58 percent to the highest ever."
During the fourth quarter, Allegiant Travel signed purchase agreements to acquire nine Airbus A320 aircraft previously operated by Iberia. The company also returned over $38 million to shareholders through a special dividend of $2 per share in December.
As of Wednesday, Allegiant Air has converted 47 of an expected 51 MD-80 aircraft to 166-seat aircraft. The airline has been serving Eastern Iowa with MD-80s since it began scheduled service to Las Vegas in June 2004.Allegiant Travel ended 2012 with total debt of $150.9 million, up 3.3 percent from $146.1 million at the end of 2011. The company, which also offers travelers hotel accommodations and car rental, concluded 2012 with unrestricted cash of $352.7 million, an increase of 10.4 percent from $319.5 million at the end of the previous year.