Allegiant to start Hawaii flights

Allegiant Travel Co., parent of Allegiant Air, announced today that it agreed to buy six used Boeing 757-200 aircraft as it expands service to Hawaii.

Allegiant expects to take delivery of 757s and put them in service between later this year and 2012.

Allegiant is buying the aircraft specifically to fly to Hawaii, which it now cannot reach with its existing fleet of MD-80s. The 757s come equipped for extended twin-engine operations required for long overwater flights.

"Hawaii is the most prominent U.S. leisure destination currently un-served by Allegiant and our small-city customers have been requesting this service," Allegiant CEO and chairman Maurice Gallagher Jr. said in a statement.

Allegiant expects to spend between $75 million and $90 million acquiring and preparing the jets.

Allegiant has operated flights from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport since 2003 and currently flies to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix-Mesa from here.

Allegiant operates 46 MD-80 aircraft and the 757 program will not affect its MD-80 growth plans. Allegiant expects to have 54 aircraft in service by the end of 2010 - 52 MD-80 aircraft and two 757 aircraft.