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Is Allegiant Air Safe? '60 Minutes' Probes Airline's Safety Record

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Is Allegiant Air Safe? '60 Minutes' Probes Airline's Safety Record

O'Neill says MD-80s haven't flown in and out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway in more than a year after the airport underwent a full transition.

He says, "I would not fly on Allegiant Airlines".

"There isn't anything really that I heard last night on that segment that I haven't heard before", Plattsburgh International Airport Manager Chris Kreig said.

"To us, it's not really that big of a deal", said one traveller. "They've had some delays and cancellations, but that tells me they're really focused on safety and not flying aircraft that may not be safe to put passengers on".

"We do have a lot of confidence, though, because we work closely with the FAA and we know how strict their guidelines are", says O'Neill.

Allegiant, which buys used planes to keep costs down, offers flights connecting Jacksonville travelers to eight cities.

After consulting with Goglia and other safety experts, 60 minutes concluded that the airline's aggressive business model, which has produced 60 straight quarters of profits, led to a lagging safety culture made worse by the oldest fleet of planes operating in the U.S. ("almost all of them purchased second-hand from foreign airlines") and a lack of parts and mechanics. "It's really an FAA function".

He even has a flight on Allegiant leaving from SRQ in less than a month, but after seeing a report on 60 minutes that questioned the airline safety record and conducting his own research.

As Allegiant Air went on the defense Monday in the wake of a national news report questioning its safety, travel experts and customers in two of its IL feeder markets - including the Quad-Cities - had mixed reactions.

Hastert added Allegiant did suffer from minor issues, but not enough to cause any alarm. FAA officials took no enforcement action against Allegiant and said they were satisfied that the airline was addressing problems found by inspectors.

With the 60 Minutes story making national news and casting Allegiant in a negative light, there's a chance it could sway passengers to look elsewhere with their travel plans. They said the story was based on outdated statistics - similar allegations were raised in 2016 by the Tampa Bay Times in Florida - and was prompted by a pilot who was sacked after ordering an emergency evacuation in which some passengers were injured. "60 Minutes" also cast its glare on the FAA, which it accused of weak safety oversight. Hastert pointed out he had received only one complaint on Monday following the broadcast. "It's a direct flight, and it's super cheap", said Mary McGuire, traveling to Raleigh.

"They're painting a very clear picture that your decision making, if it's not in the interest of profit, it's gonna result in your punishment, it's gonna result in you being terminated, it could result in the end of your career", Kinzer said.

"Allegiant complies with all FAA requirements and participates in numerous voluntary safety programmes to ensure we operate to the highest standards".

The flight was only in the air for about 10 minutes before turning back to Vegas, which Church said brought on a panic attack.

"They have upped their game and they are better than they were when they first got here", said Davis.

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