Minutes Report Names Allegiant Air Possibly 'Most Dangerous' US Airline

Gladys Abbott
April 17, 2018

60 Minutes was unable to speak to any Allegiant Air pilots.

The CBS report updated reporting by the Tampa Bay Times, which said in 2015 that Allegiant planes were four more times than those of other USA airlines to make an unplanned landing because of mechanical problems.

Along with Michael Karzis and Vanessa Fica, Kroft found that between January 1, 2016 and the end of last October, Allegiant air has experience more than 100 serious mechanical failures including aborted take offs, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions and mid air engine failures.

Abbotsford realtor Jonathan Gelderman said he has noticed a marked difference in Allegiant's on-time performance for flights out of the Bellingham International Airport since bringing newer planes on its routes from the airport.

During its review of the airline, the FAA "did not find any systemic safety or regulatory problems, but it did identify a number of less serious issues, which Allegiant addressed".

Because of pilot-labor issues in 2015, FAA moved up Allegiant's 2018 evaluation for its certificate to fly passengers to 2016.

Allegiant is in the process of renewing its fleet, but Bociurkiw said that alone isn't enough to ensure safety.

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Allegiant Air may be able to weather a scathing "60 Minutes" report on the low-price airline's ugly safety record. "And I was wondering, oh no, tomorrow, I got to fly this airline, and it was like scary", said Melissa Termin of Mahaffey.

The low-priced airline's safety record is improving. The MD-80, according to the report, makes up 30 percent of the Allegiant fleet, and most of those planes were bought "second-hand from foreign airlines".

Within hours of Sunday's piece, the Allegiant Airlines ticket counter at St. Pete-Clearwater was packed. But none of them break down in midair more often than Allegiant. The flight was eventually cancelled, she said, and the airline offered no other compensation than a hotel night for a return flight the next day.

Martini was catching a flight with two friends Monday afternoon. "They walk a few times across the airplane to see if everything's OK", he said.

Just-released Department of Transportation data shows Allegiant is an industry leader in reliability, with the second-lowest cancellation rate for all domestic airlines, [transportation.gov] behind only Hawaiian.

When 60 minutes asked Allegiant and its CEO, Maurice Gallagher about all of this, the company provided a brief statement from their vice president of operations Eric Gust which said in part, "All of us at Allegiant are proud of our strong safety record, as noted in the most current, comprehensive FAA audit".

Steven Allen, an Allegiant pilot, also issued a statement saying he is "deeply offended by the accusations" in the story. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., called for an investigation into the FAA's handling of safety-related incidents involving Allegiant Air.

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