Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Allegiant Air feels impact of damaging '60 Minutes' report

An Allegiant Air Boeing 757 takes off from Mc Carran International Airport just south of the Las Vegas strip. In the background are the towers of The Signature at MGM Grand Local travel agent backs Allegiant Airlines
Heather Davidson | 17 April, 2018, 18:36

Allegiant says the incidents cited were outdated, although the news magazine did examine an additional 100 incidents between early 2016 and late 2017.

Passengers deplane from the first Allegiant flight to land at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.

"Sometimes you get painted with a big broad brush, you know, they say Allegiant Airlines everybody thinks Allegiant everywhere, but we've had ideal runs here", said Manns. 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. The five, who were interviewed on camera, detailed experiences ranging from disappointment to anger to trauma.

Whitmer went on to say, OWB employees are constantly trained by the airline on safety measures and customer service.

In a statement responding to questions from "60 Minutes", Capt. Eric Gust, vice president of operations for Allegiant Air, said the airline is proud of its "strong safety record", and emphasized the airline's low cancellation rate, which "demonstrates our operational integrity and commitment to safety and reliability". "We'll continue to fly Allegiant as far as I'm concerned", said Forrest Arbaugh.

The number of Allegiant's serious safety problems were three-and-a-half times greater than the nation's other major airlines, according to the report.

Captain Eric Gust, Allegiant Air's vice president of operations, said: "The story is outdated, bears no resemblances to the Allegiant I know, and shows a real and troubling misunderstanding of the FAA's rigorous oversight of Allegiant and all US airlines, which is truly the worldwide gold standard in transportation safety". As of February 2, Allegiant operated 37 McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 planes and 53 Airbus A320 jets.

The FAA on April 13 said it "has not identified any significant or systemic problems with Allegiant's current operation".

After consulting with Goglia and other safety experts, 60 minutes concluded that the airline's aggressive business model, which has produced 60 straight quarters of profits, led to a lagging safety culture made worse by the oldest fleet of planes operating in the U.S. ("almost all of them purchased second-hand from foreign airlines") and a lack of parts and mechanics. "Allegiant complies with all FAA requirements and participates in numerous voluntary safety programs to ensure we operate to the highest standards".

The airline has offered flights from Owensboro to Orlando-Sanford, Florida, since mid-February 2009.

Some Allegiant passengers we talked to say they have encountered several delays related to mechanical issues.

However, bad publicity never bodes well on Wall Street, which saw Allegiant's shares fall on Monday.

The airline's statement said it expects employees to adhere to all company procedures and policies, including safety procedures, and denied the claims of critics in the report that there is pressure to put profitability over safety. None of those incidents led to enforcement action from the FAA. In 2016, the agency moved up a routine review of the airline by two years after a series of aborted takeoffs and other safety incidents.

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