Domestic US carrier Allegiant plans to reduce capacity by up to 90 per cent over the coming months, and will delay a number of new bases and route launches.

The low-cost airline operates a fleet of A319 and A320 aircraft from bases including McCarran International in Las Vegas, Orlando Sanford International and Phoenix–Mesa Gateway airport.

It had planned to open new aircraft bases at Des Moines International in Iowa and Concord-Padgett Regional in North Carolina this year, but these will now be delayed, as will the start of service from William P Hobby airport in Houston, and Boston Logan International.

Allegiant also said it anticipated a reduction in capacity of 80 to 90 per cent during April and May, with additional schedule reductions to come for the summer travel season.

The company said it was reviewing term sheets for the federal Payroll Support Grant programme and loan assistance under the CARES Act (for more information on the Act see here), as well as “exploring other financing alternatives”.

The carrier has also published ‘Going the Distance for Health and Safety’ – an online resource for customers detailing what Allegiant is doing in terms of aircraft cleaning, a “low-touch” service approach, and social distancing on the ground and in the air.

Commenting on the news Maurice J Gallagher Jr, Allegiant’s chairman and CEO, said:

“The outbreak of Coronavirus is having an impact the likes of which we’ve never seen in the travel industry. Even as a domestic carrier, to have zero demand across almost every community we serve is truly unsettling.

“With the situation changing daily, we are taking proactive steps to ensure operations continue, protect the livelihoods of our team members, and put us in the best possible position to serve our customers when demand for travel returns.”