Tri-State flying expert sheds light on Allegiant Air report - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Tri-State flying expert sheds light on Allegiant Air report

(File) (File)

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

Jay Ratliff says that about two to three years ago, Allegiant made headlines for operational maintenance issues, but since then, the company has worked with the FAA to improve.

MORE: Allegiant Air under fire after '60 Minutes' safety report

Ratliff says the report by 60 Minutes referenced some of those issues from the airliners past that Allegiant has since fixed. He also said that the report makes it seem as though all of their problems happened in a short period of time.

"Had anything been noted by the FAA that would have looked as though the airline was unsafe or was operating in a reckless fashion they would have suspended operations until everything was as it needed to be." Ratliff said.

Shares of the company continue to fall in the aftermath of the report on the low-cost carrier.

The report said that Allegiant experienced more than 100 serious mechanical incidents including aborted takeoffs, loss of cabin pressure, and emergency landings.

60 Minutes also cited a report from the FAA that indicated Allegiant flights were three and a half times more likely to suffer an in-flight breakdown than flights operated by American, United, Delta, JetBlue, or Spirit.

Ratliff said that there are frequent interventions or fines that are imposed by the FAA with all commercial aviation.

"We had one just 12 months ago on United Airlines for $435,000 for operating air crafts that were considered not air worthy." Ratliff said.

Ratliff also said that of the 26,000 scheduled domestic flights in the U.S. every day, a percentage have to make unscheduled landing and that happen all the time.

The current time is also the most safe era of commercial jet travel we have ever seen, Ratliff said.

Ratliff also said he trust the FAA to put safety first by making sure an airline is doing everything right, and that Allegiant is under pressure from this report to be doing everything right currently.

“To me it’s safer to fly allegiant today than it ever has been before because of all this additional scrutiny that’s taking place.” Ratliff said.

Captain Eric Gust, Allegiant’s vice president of operations, released this statement Monday:

It is unfortunate and disappointing that CBS 60 Minutes has chosen to air a false narrative about Allegiant and the FAA. Not only do we expect our team members to adhere to all company procedures and policies—including safety procedures—but many positions are subject to statutory and regulatory obligations. 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.

To suggest that Allegiant would engage in the practice of asking team members to violate company and regulatory obligations is offensive and defamatory. CBS produced a one-sided narrative by cherry-picking interviews and ignoring publicly-available facts. For example, the show’s star interviewee, John Goglia, is not an un-biased commentator; he is a paid expert working for a former Allegiant pilot who has sued Allegiant. That pilot, Jason Kinzer, claims that he was wrongfully terminated after an evacuation. In fact, Kinzer was terminated because he unnecessarily evacuated a plane “at great risk to the crew and passengers” even though there “was no smoke, fire, or an aircraft malfunction,” and, during a post-flight investigation, he refused to “acknowledge his mistakes” or “demonstrate[] that he was capable of learning and growing from the event going forward.” (See Defendants’ Revised Motion for Summary Judgment, Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County, NV, Case No. A-15-727524-C.) Surprisingly, the 60 Minutes presentation of Mr. Kinzer’s case omits this publicly-available side of the story. The FAA exercises rigorous oversight of Allegiant, as they do all airlines operating in the United States.

Allegiant complies with all FAA requirements and participates in numerous voluntary safety programs to ensure we operate to the highest standards. Additionally, we expect our team members to follow all company policies and practice strict adherence to FAA regulations and guidelines.

Several anonymous, non-disciplinary reporting systems are available through Allegiant as well as through the FAA for team members to report safety concerns. Notably, none of the concerns allegedly expressed by Allegiant team members during the 60 Minutes episode were found to have been reported through any of these appropriate channels. Allegiant’s team members safely operate thousands of flights each week, which will transport more than 14 million passengers this year. We have safely carried nearly 90 million passengers since beginning operations in 2001. Our workforce is made up of more than 4,000 dedicated and hard-working people who wake up every day thinking about how to move our customers safely from one place to another.

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