'60 Minutes' reinforces previous FOX5 investigations into Allegiant Air

CBS News

A CBS "60 Minutes report" about Allegiant Air has rattled some nerves. Despite all of these reports, the FAA still backs the airline.

1, 2016 and the end of October 2017, more than 100 serious mechanical incidents, including mid-air engine failures and flight control malfunctions Last July, Flight 533 experienced an engine issue on takeoff-caught on this video. As of February 2, Allegiant operated 37 McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 planes and 53 Airbus A320 jets. CBS's 60 Minutes ran an investigation into Allegiant Air's history of in-air trouble and aborted take-offs.

We caught up with customers at the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport catching a flight to Florida Monday evening. The five, who were interviewed on camera, detailed experiences ranging from disappointment to anger to trauma.

Allegiant Airlines is the largest carrier at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, which is why long before Sunday's "60 Minutes" story, 10News did a series of investigations citing safety concerns with the low-priced airline.

Some of the analysts who follow the stock said they agreed with the airline that the report overstated the extent of the problems.

If 60 Minutes had been interested in current information, they would have reported that today, according to just-released Department of Transportation data, Allegiant is a leader in reliability, with the second-lowest cancelation rate among all United States airlines.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the top Democrat on the Senate panel that oversees the airlines, is calling for an investigation into the Federal Aviation Administration's handling of safety-related incidents involving Allegiant Air.

The pilot says he is "extremely confident" in the airline's safety.

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The internal memo was first tweeted by AirlineGeeks.com, and Allegiant later confirmed to CBS News that it had been sent to employees.

"If you're in the airliner, it is landed and is filling up with smoke, I would not wait for the flight crew to tell you to evacuate", he said.

It could be different for Allegiant, however, because the focus now is on whether it's safe to fly on the airline. It is phasing out the MD-80s, which burn far more fuel than new planes.

Allegiant service means $1 million a year to the local airport, because it carries more than 10,000 passengers a year on the Florida route.

"We are pleased to report that all the Allegiant planes based here at the Punta Gorda Airport are newer Airbus A320s - which the community and passengers have welcomed because they are more reliable and quieter than the MD80 planes". It also took aim at the FAA for failing to take action against Allegiant.

Gelderman, a regular traveller between the Lower Mainland and Phoenix where he owns a home, said he stopped flying Allegiant for several years because of frequent delays. He said the FAA is being "a safety partner" to the airlines, and "it is working".

According to its website, Allegiant Air has nearly 130 flights to and from destinations in the United States and Puerto Rico.

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