Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Senator: DOT watchdog should investigate FAA's handling of Allegiant Air

Senator: DOT watchdog should investigate FAA's handling of Allegiant Air

60 Minutes aired an investigation Sunday night that revealed several Allegiant Airlines flights had mechanical problems. There have been far too many aborted takeoffs, inflight mechanical problems and emergency landings involving Allegiant planes in recent years.

But on Sunday, a "60 Minutes" report stated Allegiant Air experienced more than 100 serious mechanical incidents between January 1, 2016 and October 2017.

On Monday, it was business as usual for Allegiant Air, as it's morning flight from Las Vegas unloaded passengers at Springfield-Branson National Airport.

One example "60 Minutes" used was a plane filled with toxic smoke, where flight attendants didn't let passengers leave.

"The traveling public deserves to know whether the FAA is conducting thorough safety oversight of Allegiant".

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Debbie Rosales has been using the Chicago-Rockford International Airport for years, but that may change after a 60 Minutes report alleges Allegiant Airlines, despite being one of the most affordable airlines, could also be one of the most unsafe. He said the message to other Allegiant pilots was "that you better not "waste" company resources in a conflict with safety", which he said seemed to indicate that the airline was putting economics over safety.

Allegiant executives termed the FAA's 2016 findings "minor" and hailed the report as evidence of the airline's safety.

A separate statement sent by Allegiant Air to customers following the "60 Minutes" report calls the segment an "irresponsible, grossly misleading story", and says the report was instigated by a terminated employee who is suing the airline.

Already, at least two-thirds of the flights into SGF use the new Airbus model. "We and everyone else depend on the FAA, the federal government, and the airlines to maintain a safe airline environment", Boyd stated. 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.

A new report accuses Allegiant Air of being the "most dangerous" airline in the United States.

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But we haven't had any problems with Allegiant's flights here. 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.

As airlines go, Allegiant is not a big player in Pittsburgh. She said she had a positive experience, despite her worries about Allegiant's safety.

Allegiant's vice president of operations, Capt. Eric Gust, issued a statement after the program that said the story was outdated and shows a "troubling misunderstanding" of the Federal Aviation Administration's safety oversight of airlines.

Since the 1990s, the FAA has stressed voluntary reporting of potential safety issues before taking punitive enforcement actions.

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