Allegiant Air has been performing line maintenance up through segmented A Checks at its bases with its own aircraft technicians. “We outsource C check level maintenance activity and higher to MROs,” explains Christian Toro, managing director of maintenance operations. The maintenance exec says there are no current plans to change this policy. “This mix works well for us.”
Allegiant now has only 520 people on its engineering and maintenance staff. Lean staffing has been one reason the carrier has enjoyed 58 straight quarterly profits and recently had a 21% operating margin. Allegiant is shedding its old MD-80s and these should all be retired by the end of 2019 as it moves toward 92 A320-family aircraft. “We certainly intend to take advantage of any single-fleet efficiency gains, but as we grow our fleet, we have consistently grown our front line and support staff to appropriately address our operational needs,” Toro notes.
Toro says current recruiting efforts for engineering and maintenance staff are very successful, but the carrier is looking to develop innovative ways to build for the future. “For example, we have partnered with a local branch of the Aviation School of Maintenance in Las Vegas, our headquarters city, and have initiated a maintenance technician intern program. This effort is in its infancy, but even in this early stage we have brought three interns aboard and successfully employed two.”
Allegiant would like to expand this internship program to cover the East Coast, and possibly south Florida specifically, to attract more young talent. “We have also been looking at potentially partnering with existing MROs to find AMTs with the right fit for the type of work they want to perform,” Toro says. That might be either heavy maintenance or line maintenance.
Allegiant is not planning to build more maintenance facilities in the next five years. “But of course as our route structure grows and adjusts, we will always look for the opportunity to add a maintenance station or base as the operation requires,” Toro explains.