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Stockton's lone air carrier Allegiant Air under fire after 60 Minutes report

Stockton's lone air carrier Allegiant Air under fire after 60 Minutes report

According to the 60 Minutes report, Allegiant Air has reported more than 100 serious safety issues to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from January 1, 2016 to October of that year.

CBS said that FAA records it received by filing a Freedom of Information Act request indicate that Allegiant flights were 3-1/2 times more likely to suffer an inflight breakdown than flights operated by US airlines American, United, Delta, JetBlue or Spirit.

The "60 Minutes" investigation used fresher data to examine similar issues.

The pilot says he is "extremely confident" in the airline's safety. "Our team members safely operate thousands of flights each week, which will transport more than 14 million passengers this year".

Allegiant Air's (ALGT) safety and maintenance records came under scrutiny in a double-length "60 Minutes" segment Sunday. Another issue brought to light by the audits: the airline's rapid expansion combined with its reliance on MD-80s pushing 30 years of age was creating major disruptions.

During its review of the airline, the FAA "did not find any systemic safety or regulatory problems, but it did identify a number of less serious issues, which Allegiant addressed".

Responding to growing pressure on its regulation of Allegiant, the FAA said it was "committed to pursuing the highest level of aviation safety".

The report also alleges that Allegiant has a culture of putting profits ahead of the safety.

"It is unfortunate and disappointing that CBS 60 Minutes has chosen to air a false narrative about Allegiant and the FAA", Allegiant Vice President of Operations Eric Gust said.

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"Even if another airline cost a little bit more, or I have to do a transfer at another airport, I think I'd just, you know, sleep easier the night before if I knew I was flying on something besides the older MD80 out of Moline", says Summers.

Allegiant Air, which is owned by Allegiant Travel Company, was not immediately available for comment.

A spokesperson for Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport said, Allegiant is undergoing a plan to replace McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft with Airbus 319 and 320 models.

Last year, the airline flew 12 million passengers on its 99 planes to over 120 destinations coast to coast.

In the agency's defense, the FAA Associate administrator Ali Bahrami said in a letter that "The FAA is vigilant in scrutinizing the actions of all airlines and is prepared to act on all information". The audit, a Certificate Holder Evaluation Process (CHEP) done every five years on airlines and fix stations in addition to routine oversight, is a top-to-bottom review on an operator's system to ensure it is complying with regulations.

The FAA exercises rigorous oversight of Allegiant, as they do all airlines operating in the United States.

Passengers shouldn't worry too much if they fly one of Allegiant's newer planes, Weinkrantz said.

Officials at the Ogdensburg airport are aware of the 60 Minutes report, but they are saying it doesn't apply here. There have also been multiple emergency landings at Jacksonville International Airport.

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