Allegiant Air responds to critical '60 Minutes' report

Allegiant plane in the air

Allegiant plane in the air

In a statement responding to questions from "60 Minutes", Capt. Eric Gust, vice president of operations for Allegiant Air, said the airline is proud of its "strong safety record", and emphasized the airline's low cancellation rate, which "demonstrates our operational integrity and commitment to safety and reliability". He said the airline is in the process of replacing its fleet with new Airbus jets, and in January had the second lowest number of flight cancellations among USA carriers.

The city of Concord responded to a recent report from CBS' 60 Minutes that alleges Allegiant Airline may be risky.

An engine caught on fire mid-flight during one incident, while in another, hazardous hydraulic fluid dubbed Skydrol 4 filled a cabin still full of passengers. They also claim the story gained traction due to a disgruntled employee now locked in a lawsuit battle with the airline.

The letter said, "In 2016, we moved up allegiant's 2018 scheduled review, known as a certificate holder evaluation process".

The "60 Minutes" story is not about old incidents: Between Jan. 1, 2016 and the end of October 2017, "60 Minutes" found more than 100 serious mechanical incidents, including mid-air engine failures, smoke and fumes in the cabin, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted takeoffs. Allegiant planes were forced to make 60 unscheduled landings and had 46 in-flight emergencies during that time frame, "60 Minutes" found. This unoriginal and outdated story bears no resemblance to Allegiant's operations today, and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of FAA compliance practice and history.

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The correspondent, Steve Kroft, reported that in an overtime segment of the "60 minute" report, he and his team did not get any kind cooperation from either the Allegiant or the FAA in the beginning of the reporting. Claiming the incidents happened in the past and that the airline has cleared all recent FAA audits.

"The story features cherry-picked interviews with people involved in the lawsuit, including featured comments from John Goglia, a paid plaintiff's witness presented by CBS as an unbiased industry expert". The violation of those obligations would trigger not only punitive action from Allegiant, but could also result in enforcement action from regulatory agencies, loss of a certification, and even criminal charges. Wolfe Research raised shares of Allegiant Air from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, February 1st.

Kinzer was sacked three weeks later and is fighting the dismissal in court.

Allegiant, which is based in Las Vegas, did not participate in the program, but it issued a statement afterward.

"The traveling public deserves to know whether the FAA is conducting thorough safety oversight of Allegiant". We have safely carried almost 90 million passengers since beginning operations in 2001.

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