Tri-State flying expert sheds light on Allegiant Air report

Tri-State flying expert sheds light on Allegiant Air report

Troy Powers
April 17, 2018

The program looked at months' worth of service difficulty reports-self-reported records of mechanical problems experienced by the airline's fleet-and claims it found records of more than 100 serious mechanical issues between January 2016 and October 2017, including aborted takeoffs and emergency landings. Of those 10, two reported fumes in the cabin, four had instrument or flight control problems and four had engine problems.

A Tampa Bay Times investigation - which included a first-of-its kind analysis of federal aviation records - has found that the budget carrier's planes are four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major USA airlines.

Allegiant Air offers flights from Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth to Myrtle Beach in SC, as well as Daytona Beach, Orlando and Fort Myers in Florida.

However, dozens of unscheduled landings and reports of rapid descent, hydrologic leaks and mid-air breakdowns leave some in the industry concerned.

The pilot says he is "extremely confident" in the airline's safety. Most are about 28 years old.

The Tampa Bay Times found that Allegiant's fleet of MD-80s had an average age of 22 years old and required significant maintenance.

Tim Cantwell, director of MidAmerica Airport, said Allegiant has "a very good flight record" at MidAmerica.

In a statement, Eric Gust, Allegiant Air's vice-president of operations, accused CBS of telling a "false narrative". 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.

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Allegiant then lined up enough Airbus A320-family aircraft to accelerate retirement of its remaining MD-80s.

Last year, the airline flew 12 million passengers on its 99 planes to over 120 destinations coast to coast. "I was terrified and honestly did not think we were going to make it", she said. The audit, a Certificate Holder Evaluation Process (CHEP) done every five years on airlines and fix stations in addition to routine oversight, is a top-to-bottom review on an operator's system to ensure it is complying with regulations.

FAA associate administrator of safety Ali Bahrami defended the agency's performance by pointing to the lack of a fatal crash involving a USA airline since 2009, and said FAA regulation "has been very successful" in pushing airlines "to the highest level of safety". Bill Nelson, D-Fla., called for an investigation into the FAA's handling of safety-related incidents involving Allegiant Air.

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

"We've flown it many times, we've never had any problems", said one person in line for TSA.

Davis said the report used data from a time when Allegiant was experiencing "growing pains".

Allegiant Air has landed at Plattsburgh International Airport since 2007.

The report of "60 minutes" also highlights an incident involving Captain Jason Kinzer, who was sacked in 2015 because smoke was found in the cabin shortly after the take off (sources say).