Flying Allegiant? Scathing '60 Minutes' report cites maintenance issues

17 April, 2018, 18:39 | Author: Franklin Nunez
  • Local travel agent backs Allegiant Airlines

Allegiant told KY3 News it believes the 60 Minutes report is full of inaccuracies. He also criticized the FAA for not enforcing safety rules with the airline, despite more than 100 serious mechanical incidents over a span of 22 months.

The "60 Minutes" report used public documents filed by Allegiant Air with the Federal Aviation Administration to show serious mechanical incidents, aborted takeoffs, cabin-pressure loss, emergency descents and unscheduled landings between January 2016 and October 2017.

At Hagerstown International Airport in Maryland, an Allegiant flight conducted an emergency landing during takeoff after a flight attendant reported fumes that seemed like burning rubber.

Some passengers, however, are concerned by the "60 Minutes" report. The five, who were interviewed on camera, detailed experiences ranging from disappointment to anger to trauma.

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The low-priced carrier Allegiant Air is facing nationwide scrutiny following a "60 Minutes" investigation that is raising significant safety concerns.

"There was smoke in the cabin and fire coming out of the engine, and I just remember thinking that I would never see my daughter again", passenger Mercedes Weller told "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft.

In response to the investigation, Allegiant issued a statement on Sunday night, in which they called the report "grossly misleading" and noted that the story was instigated by a "terminated employee now involved in a lawsuit seeking money damages from the company".

"Captain Eric Gust is Allegiant's vice president of operations, responsible for the airline's flight operations, safety and security teams".

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In Illinois, Allegiant is a low-fare carrier for regional airports such as the Quad-City International Airport and airports in Bloomington, Peoria and Springfield. In 2015, in the middle of a contract dispute, Allegiant pilots cited worries about safety, much of them centering on the aging fleet of MD-80 jets the airline operates.

"Had I known that that was an issue that Allegiant had, it's certainly something I would have taken into consideration before booking a flight", says passenger Molly Walnum who arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway on her very first Allegiant flight.

83 people work at the Punta Gorda Airport, so a lot is riding on the success of the airline for families in Southwest Florida.

In a statement Monday, Allegiant said it has 31 MD-80s in its entire fleet. A 2016 investigation by the Tampa Bay Times raised similar concerns.

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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". None of those incidents led to enforcement action from the FAA. Church said the flight was delayed for three hours due to a maintenance issue, and when it did take off she could smell fuel in the air coming out of the overhead vents.

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