Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Economy | By

Allegiant Air under fire after '60 Minutes' investigation raises safety concerns

Allegiant Air under fire after '60 Minutes' investigation raises safety concerns

Two sources with firsthand knowledge Allegiant's operations but not authorized to speak on the carrier's behalf tell MRO Network that while the airline's issues were real, management is making positive strides and understands the importance of establishing an effective safety culture. It flies from Stewart to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and three locations in Florida.

Allegiant Air, a domestic carrier operating flights to and from New Orleans, is the subject of a scathing "60 Minutes" investigation citing aviation records and interviews showing an "alarming number" of issues that points to the low-priced carrier as being one of the country's "most dangerous" airlines.

"60 Minutes" quoted air safety experts and passengers, and public documents show an alarming number of aborted takeoffs, cases of cabin pressure loss, emergency descents, and unscheduled landings. However, the airline expects to retire its MD fleet by November.

In a response to the 60 Minutes story, the FAA reported a sharp decline over the past three years experienced by Allegiant flights. It also took aim at the FAA for failing to take action against Allegiant.

But Davis, who watched most of the "60 Minutes" investigative report, admits "It was very disturbing". "I have the utmost faith in the FAA and their safety requirements", Piccolo said. While others illustrate problems they've had in the past.

"The biggest danger to a pilot in an airplane and passengers is fire in flight", he said. The government agency reacted strongly to the 60 Minutes story.

The pilot says he is "extremely confident" in the airline's safety.

None of the 77 incidents prompted enforcement action from the Federal Aviation Administration, which doesn't compare airline breakdown records to look for warning signs.

"I've used it several times to Phoenix and Vegas and have had zero issues", Gelderman said.

Investors fear that negative publicity will drive travelers away from Allegiant. Notably, none of the concerns allegedly expressed by Allegiant team members during the 60 Minutes episode were found to have been reported through any of these appropriate channels.

Airlines are frequently the subject of bad publicity, often around poor customer service. "If "60 Minutes" had been interested in current information, they would have reported that today, according to just-released Department of Transportation data, Allegiant is a leader in reliability, with the second-lowest cancelation rate among all US airlines".

Annetta Ribken, a writer from Moscow Mills, Missouri, flew with Allegiant last July from MidAmerica to Las Vegas.

For the most part, all the FAA did was write letters to Allegiant to correct the deficiencies. "We'd be surprised if there isn't an impact to bookings in the nearish term". The mechanics and related personnel voted to join the Teamsters in March 2018 and have begun laying the groundwork for a first contract that will continue raising the standards for workers at Allegiant Air. It also has limited competition on many of its routes. However, we ask that you refer to Allegiant or the FAA for any specifics.

A spokesperson for Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport said, Allegiant is undergoing a plan to replace McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft with Airbus 319 and 320 models.

The FAA increased its monitoring of Allegiant in 2015 because of labor tension with its pilots.

"I just heard my friends say they are always late, and people don't treat them right on the plane", traveler Abigail Vega said.

Allegiant has had no fatalities in the past decade, according to the airline review site, though the airline earned only five out of seven stars on the site because it is not a member of the Operational Safety Audit Registry.

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