The parent company of Allegiant Air faced calls for an inquiry into its safety record and a sharp drop in its stock price after a report by CBS News' 60 Minutes alleged the U.S. budget airline suffers a high number of mechanical problems.
According to the monthslong investigation released by CBS News' "60 Minutes", detailed reports from the Federal Aviation Administration indicated that Allegiant flights were three-and-a-half times more likely to suffer an in-flight breakdown than flights operated by American, United, Delta, JetBlue or Spirit.
That incident and many others-a 2016 Tampa Bay Times investigation found that Allegiant had about 80 maintenance-related disruptions in 2015-led FAA to step up surveillance and conduct a carrier-wide audit in early 2016, two years ahead of schedule.
We caught up with customers at the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport catching a flight to Florida Monday evening.
"It is unfortunate and disappointing that CBS 60 Minutes has chosen to air a false narrative about Allegiant and the FAA". Gust also said Allegiant complies with all FAA requirements and participates in numerous voluntary safety programs.
Ratliff also said he trust the FAA to put safety first by making sure an airline is doing everything right, and that Allegiant is under pressure from this report to be doing everything right now. "A longtime FAA lawyer told 60 Minutes" that she has "never ever heard of an airline firing a pilot for an emergency evacuation". But, FAA emphasized, the review "did not find any systemic safety or regulatory problems", adding that Allegiant has addressed the minor findings.
60 Minutes on CBS reported that the airline had more than 100 serious mechanical incidents over the last couple of years. "We'll continue to fly Allegiant as far as I'm concerned", said Forrest Arbaugh.
Last July, 10 Allegiant planes had to make unscheduled landings, "60 Minutes" reported.
In responses to the report, both Allegiant and the FAA said that they put safety at the forefront.
"It's inevitable that Allegiant's going to have a catastrophic failure that's going to get somebody hurt or killed", Riggs says. "There have been a few delays where the Allegiant captains wanted something double-checked before departing, but no cancellations due to mechanical issues". That expansion, airport officials say, is to handle the more than 2.6 million passengers, a almost three-fold increase from 901,862 passengers in 2012, at the fast-growing air facility.
Jessica Stoffel was so afraid on Allegiant Flight 175 over Mesa, Ariz., that she grabbed the stranger next to her and squeezed his hand. "Additionally, we expect our team members to follow all company policies and practice strict adherence to FAA regulations and guidelines".
In the first quarter, Allegiant had 3,279,368 scheduled passengers, up from 2,845,480 in the first quarter of previous year, according to a press release issued April 5. Nearly 30 percent of Allegiant's planes are "antiquated" McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 aircraft, the program said.