LAS VEGAS (AP) — Maurice Gallagher, the longtime CEO of budget airline Allegiant, will step down as CEO of the airline’s parent company and be replaced by company President John Redmond on June 1.

Allegiant Travel Co. announced the change in CEOs on Monday. Gallagher will remain chairman.

Gallagher said the change in CEOs formalizes “changes that have been working in practice for the last several years.”

The announcement came the same day that two rivals, Spirit and Frontier airlines, announced plans to merge, creating a larger budget airline than Allegiant, based in Las Vegas.

Redmond, who spent many years in the hotel and resort business, has served on Allegiant’s board since 2007 except for a one-year break. He has been president for five years and oversees day-to-day operations of the company.

Gallagher was among the investors who started ValuJet Airlines, a discount airline that suffered a 1996 Florida crash that was blamed on improperly stored hazardous materials in the cargo hold. The airline bought AirTran and took the smaller rival’s name.

Gallagher took over Allegiant in 2001 after the company went through a bankruptcy reorganization.

Allegiant reported a profit of $152 million on $497 million in revenue last year. Revenue exceeded 2019 levels, a rarity in the airline business, which is still trying to recover from the onset of the pandemic.

The company has ambitious growth plans, including a partnership with Mexico’s Viva Aerobus to increase its international business.

Shares in Allegiant Travel ended Monday little changed at $173.11.