Allegiant Air facing controversy over mechanical issues

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A "60 Minutes" documentary that aired last Sunday found that in-flight breakdowns were common.

Allegiant reported more than 100 "serious mechanical incidents" between January 2016 and October past year, according to the CBS report, which was based on "service difficulty reports" filed with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Almost 173,000 passengers in New Orleans boarded or arrived on Allegiant flights in 2017, according to statistics tracked by Louis Armstrong International Airport.

"I've had absolutely no issues with them", said Lowe, who learned about the "60 Minutes" reports in online stories Monday. In roughly 30 minutes, the program scrutinized the airline's safety record, via interviews from industry and union representatives, passengers, and FAA records or previous incidents. An internal memo to employees, confirmed by Allegiant, said that the company is "prepared to fight back against '60 Minutes.'" Allegiant is also responding to Twitter posts by asking for private messages to "share our concerns about the story".

A 60 Minutes investigation into Allegiant Air has many anxious about the safety of the airliner, but a Greater Cincinnati Area flying expert says the report doesn't paint the whole picture.

Allegiant executives termed the FAA's 2016 findings "minor" and hailed the report as evidence of the airline's safety. It operates 15 flights out of Stockton each week.

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"We do have a lot of confidence, though, because we work closely with the FAA and we know how strict their guidelines are", says O'Neill. According to AirFleets.net, a service that tracks aircraft owned by airlines, the average age of the MD-80s that Allegiant still operates is 28.2 years old.

Allegiant also has a contract with Evansville Regional Airport.

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". 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.

It's not the first time Allegiant has come under fire. Mainly, that's because most all the incidents reported by 60 Minutes happened on old McDonald-Douglas aircraft the airline bought used.

The airline's statement said it expects employees to adhere to all company procedures and policies, including safety procedures, and denied the claims of critics in the report that there is pressure to put profitability over safety.

Allegiant's stock has taken a blow since the segment aired on Sunday. The review didn't find "any systemic safety or regulatory problems", although it did identify "a number of less serious issues, which Allegiant addressed".

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