Tri-State flying expert sheds light on Allegiant Air report

Tri-State flying expert sheds light on Allegiant Air report
(File)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - 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.

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.

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