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

Tonya Becker
April 18, 2018

Less than a week after Allegiant Airlines launched service between Sarasota Bradenton International Airport and Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, "60 Minutes" aired a report critical of the company's safety record.

A Washington Post analysis at the time found that Allegiant had about nine times as many "serious incidents" from January 2015 through March 2016 as Delta Air Lines, the second-largest USA carrier, despite Delta having flown about three times as many comparable planes in the period.

Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, took the report in stride.

Both DeNardi and Savanthi Syth, airline analyst at Raymond James, said they expect the airline to lose relatively few bookings because of the 60 Minutes report.

In regular reviews since then, the FAA "has not identified any significant or systemic problems with the carrier's current operation". If there was anything important, they would act on it.

More dogs die on United than on any other airline. "They were talking about it, so I assume most people saw it", Jim Bennett of Madrid said.

Allegiant Air is facing controversy over mechanical issues on its aircraft. According to, a service that tracks aircraft owned by airlines, the average age of the MD-80s that Allegiant still operates is 28.2 years old.

Allegiant's arriving and departing flights at SRQ were essentially full last week.

Allegiant is known for low-priced, no frill flights.

Abbotsford realtor Jonathan Gelderman said he has noticed a marked difference in Allegiant's on-time performance for flights out of the Bellingham International Airport since bringing newer planes on its routes from the airport.

But an investigation by CBS's "60 Minutes," alleges fliers might be paying in safety for what they're saving in costs.

The "60 Minutes" report raised questions about Allegiant's safety record after finding the airline had more than 100 mechanical issues between January 2016 and October 2017.

"It's inevitable that Allegiant's going to have a catastrophic failure that's going to get somebody hurt or killed", Riggs says. "Anything less could lead to disastrous consequences".

"CBS produced a one-sided narrative by cherry-picking interviews and ignoring publicly available facts", Allegiant's Vice-President of Operations Eric Gust said. Allegiant complies with all FAA requirements and participates in numerous voluntary safety programs to ensure we operate to the highest standards. Syth said her inlaws frequently fly on the airline. 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.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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