Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Sarasota travelers feel uneasy about Allegiant Airlines

The key takeaways from the '60 Minutes' report on Allegiant Air I Watched as '60 Minutes' Said Allegiant Air May Be Dangerous. I'll Give the Airline a Miss
Ella Tate | 18 April, 2018, 03:26

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.

He said he would give the airline an "A-" for a grade.

In a segment that aired Sunday on CBS, "60 Minutes" reported that Allegiant had more than 100 serious mechanical incidents between January 2016 and October 2017. Incidents included mid-air engine failures, smoke and fumes in the cabin, and rapid descents among other issues.

In that time period, "60 Minutes" counted dozens of in-flight mishaps and in-flight emergencies on Allegiant's planes.

We asked Fort Myers pilot Bo Gilham, who's been flying planes for 30 years, for his take on the allegations regarding Allegiant.

Allegiant, which has never had a crash, noted that it has carried 90 million passengers safely since beginning operations in 2001 and that it has less than a third as many MD-80s in its fleet as Delta.

Allegiant's record of breakdowns appears related partly to the age of its fleet, particularly its MD-80 planes, which are almost 28 years old on average and require more maintenance than newer planes.

But you won't see MD-80s at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway.

A CBS "60 Minutes report" about Allegiant Air has rattled some nerves.

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The Thomson family we spoke to says they woke up this morning to text messages from their loved ones in Florida, offering to drive and pick them up in Atlanta instead after hearing the report.

"By end of the year their fleet age will be much more in line with the rest of the industry", said Joseph DeNardi, an analyst with Stifel who has a buy recommendation on the stock.

"The reports are kind of old", Piccolo said of the data that "60 Minutes" reviewed. They say that the airline serves smaller airports that are often not well served by major carriers and that it offers the low fares that are likely to keep customers booking flights.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

"It would not be one of my top choice airlines", he said.

"It's really mind-boggling that the administration, the federal regulators are not giving Allegiant a harder time for these very, very serious violations", he said.

Rosales hopes the airline will take a good look at their policies before she will consider flying with them again.

"We have reason to believe this story was instigated by a terminated employee", Allegiant wrote in a letter to employees. It said a pilot who was sacked after ordering an evacuation of a plane which was a focus of the report was not fired for putting passenger safety ahead of airline assets, as the report said, but because the airline determined he unnecessarily evacuated a plane "at great risk to the crew and passengers" even though there "was no smoke, fire, or an aircraft malfunction".

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