ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Amid cutbacks across most air carriers in the United States, the Albuquerque Sunport has lost one of its lower cost airlines. Allegiant Air has quietly ended service to and from Albuquerque, roughly six years after the airline began serving the market.

In a recent Albuquerque Airport Advisory Board meeting, Sunport officials revealed that Allegiant Air has pulled all of its flights from the Albuquerque market. The last Allegiant flight took place on May 2, 2022.

Allegiant began serving the Albuquerque market in 2016, eventually working its way into providing flights to Las Vegas, Austin and Los Angeles. Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in New Mexico, Allegiant announced plans to add a direct flight from Albuquerque to Sanford, Florida, near Orlando.

However, the pandemic ultimately disrupted much of Allegiant’s activity in Albuquerque. In January, the Sunport noted Allegiant paused flights through Albuquerque, with hopes of returning Las Vegas and Austin service respectively in February and March. By April, the Sunport reported Allegiant pausing flights to Austin again due to the price of oil.

The air carrier’s Sunport exit comes as many domestic air carriers are continuing to struggle with staffing, particularly with pilots out of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a May meeting of the Airport Advisory Board, the Sunport’s business development manager attributed Allegiant’s departure from the Sunport as a result of “pilot shortages.”

“The Sunport is aware that nationwide pilot shortages have presented a challenge to airlines, even before the pandemic,” said Albuquerque Sunport Marketing and Public Relations Manager Jonathan Small in a statement sent to KRQE News 13. “This challenge has only increased, leading to this unfortunate news for the Sunport and other airports across the country.”

While it’s unclear when Allegiant could return, the Sunport is expected to welcome service from another low-cost air carrier, Sprit Airlines in August. Spirit announced in March it will soon offer daily service between Albuquerque and Las Vegas, Nevada.

“We have enjoyed our partnership with Allegiant over the last six years and are sad to see them go, but hope this is a temporary exit,” Small said. “[We] will welcome them back with open arms when the time is right.”