Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Business

Allegiant Airlines safety under scrutiny in ‘60 Minutes’ investigation

ST. PETERSBURG — The spotlight will be on Allegiant Air’s safety and maintenance record later today in a 60 Minutes segment.

News of the upcoming report — which is expected to draw in part from a Tampa Bay Times investigation in 2016 — sent stock of the carrier’s parent, Allegiant Travel Co., down nearly 8 percent on Friday.

In a promo, CBS indicated it would examine such issues as aborted takeoffs, loss in cabin pressure, unscheduled landings and engine failures.

The Times examined the Las Vegas-based budget airline’s safety record for 2015, finding that Allegiant made emergency landings at four times the rate of other U.S. airlines.

Related coverage: Investigation: Breakdown at 30,000 feet

Allegiant’s aging fleet of MD-80s — which had an average age of 22 years old — were a major factor, as they require significant maintenance. The Times also found the aircrafts failed at double the rate that American Airlines planes failed, and triple the rate that Delta planes failed.

Even when maintenance was done on a particular system on a plane, the Times investigation found, the same systems would fail later.

Allegiant recently replaced its entire fleet of aircraft at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport with Airbus models. It is the main carrier at the St. Pete-Clearwater airport.

Related coverage: Allegiant Airlines replaces aging fleet at St. Pete-Clearwater airport

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