Allegiant Air is being closely looked at after a 60 Minutes investigative piece that highlighted safety concerns about the low-cost carrier. The show found that over a 22-month period, the Las Vegas airline experienced over 100 mechanical incidents, including flight control malfunction, midair engine failures, and aborted takeoffs.
60 Minutes looked at numerous public Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reports including those of seven other airlines. The research showed that Allegiance Air was more likely than to have a midair breakdown than that of legacy carriers Delta, American or another low-cost carrier Spirt Airlines. Correspondent Steve Kroft said during the broadcast, “Public documents show an alarming number of aborted takeoffs, cabin pressure loss, emergency descents, and unscheduled landings.”
Kroft later asked the FAA’s John Duncan, Executive Director of Flight Standards, about the incidents. Duncan replied, “We’re satisfied that — that we are– we are taking the appropriate actions with regard to Allegiant and every other carrier that we work with to make sure that those problems have been– have been appropriately dealt with.”
Allegiant was slow to respond Monday despite plunging stock prices before the market opened. Captain Eric Gust, Vice President of Operations for Allegiant, issued a statement saying that 60 Minutes has a “troubling misunderstanding” of the FAA’s safety oversight and the information that was given during the report was outdated. In a statement to customers Allegiant declared, “To you, a member of our Allegiant family of travelers, I want to be very clear: safety is at the core of every aspect of our operation, every day.”
No pilots contributed to the story, the head of the Pilot’s Union, Captain Daniel Wells, stated during the interview, “I would love to put up some of the– Allegiant pilots. But they can’t. And they can’t because they know that they would be terminated. At the very least, disciplined. And that’s just for speaking up about concerns. So I have to speak on their behalf.”