Minutes investigation questions Allegiant Airlines safety, airline battles back



The Associated Press reported that investigators with the news program found that between January 1, 2016, and October 2017, the Las Vegas-based airline experienced more than 100 serious mechanical incidents, including aborted takeoffs, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions and midair engine failures.

In a statement Monday, Allegiant said it has 31 MD-80s in its entire fleet.

The report was based on a review of US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data and interviews with industry experts.

Allegiant Airlines is facing backlash after a report blasted the airline for the number of mechanical problems it had between 2016 and 2017. Both the federal agency and the airline denied this was the case.

During the investigation, Kroft spoke to several passengers who had travelled onboard Allegiant Air flights. "They've had some delays and cancellations, but that tells me they're really focused on safety and not flying aircraft that may not be safe to put passengers on".

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With the 60 Minutes story making national news and casting Allegiant in a negative light, there's a chance it could sway passengers to look elsewhere with their travel plans.

"CBS produced a one-sided narrative by cherry-picking interviews and ignoring publicly available facts", Allegiant's Vice-President of Operations Eric Gust said.

Gust went on to say, "Allegiant complies with all FAA requirements and participates in numerous voluntary safety programs to ensure we operate at the highest possible standard".

"Allegiant released a statement saying in part ".We are disappointed yet again by another feeble attempt to damage the reputation of our hard-working team members and that of our company. "We as a board are obviously concerned about safety". None of those incidents led to enforcement action from the FAA.

"We have reason to believe this story was instigated by a terminated employee", Allegiant wrote in a letter to employees.

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He said he would give the airline an "A-" for a grade.

"We're sitting there in an aluminum tube with no escape if the guy putting fuel in the airplane had an accident or mistake and started a fire", he says.

FAA records obtained in 2016 by Alternative Research Services owner Robert MacArthur found the airline was plagued by emergency landings, failed take-offs, engine troubles and other issues.

More than a year's worth of Federal Aviation Administration reports for Allegiant and seven other airlines show that the carrier was on average almost three and a half times more likely to have a midair breakdown than Delta, United, American, Spirit, or JetBlue.

Allegiant's record of breakdowns appears related partly to the age of its fleet, particularly its MD-80 planes, which are almost 28 years old on average and require more maintenance than newer planes.

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