60 Minutes Addresses Air Safety, FAA Responds

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Image: CBS News

Image: CBS News

Allegiant Air, a regional carrier based in Las Vegas, has the worst safety record of any U.S. airline, yet the FAA has failed to take any enforcement action against them, according to a 60 Minutes report that aired Sunday. Reporter Steve Kroft said Allegiant is one of the country’s most profitable airlines, but it may “also be the most dangerous.” Public records show “an alarming number of aborted takeoffs, emergency descents, and unscheduled landings,” Kroft said. Kroft detailed several of the incidents, and also spoke to Daniel Wells, a captain for Atlas Air, and president of the union that represents Allegiant pilots. Wells said pilots at Allegiant have been "disciplined ... just for speaking up about [safety] concerns." Monday morning, Kroft discussed the report on CBS This Morning, and said the airline recently bought 10 new Airbus airplanes; and the number of incidents and complaints has gone down since then.

The FAA’s associate administrator for aviation safety, Ali Bahrami, responded to the report with a letter that was posted to the FAA website on Sunday. Bahrami said the agency conducted a review of Allegiant in 2016, and “did not find any systemic safety or regulatory problems.” A number of “less serious” issues were raised, he said, and were addressed by Allegiant. The number of incidents reported by Allegiant to the FAA has been trending downward in recent years, he said, with about half as many incidents in 2018 as in 2015. Bahrami also said 2016 articles in the Tampa Bay Times, which were cited in the story, “contained a number of inaccuracies.” An internal statement attributed to Allegiant CEO Maury Gallagher and other executives, which has been posted on Twitter, states that the 60 Minutes story “follows an unoriginal narrative based entirely off of outdated statistics, incidents that are years old, and so-called ‘industry experts.’” The statement says airline officials believe the story was “instigated by” a terminated employee who is currently suing the airline, and “we are prepared to fight back.”

Comments (7)

the worst safety record of any AMERICAN airline surely? Afghanistan Airlines can only dream of a safety record like this.

Posted by: Steve Beaver | April 16, 2018 1:16 PM    Report this comment

Any AMERICAN airline surely. Afghan Airlines can only dream of a safety record like this!

Posted by: Steve Beaver | April 16, 2018 1:17 PM    Report this comment

It must be accurate..., I saw it on Tee Vee.

"Reporter Steve Kroft said Allegiant is one of the country's most profitable airlines..."

Allegiant Air better step up their advertising with CBS. How dare an airline make big profits and not share them with the media?

Posted by: Klaus Marx | April 16, 2018 1:56 PM    Report this comment

Once again, news people show that they do not understand the English language.
The airline has a good safety record but a higher than average incident record.
Such bad reporting is a reason I stopped watching SeeBS.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | April 16, 2018 2:06 PM    Report this comment

60 minutes is nothing but a hatchet show to glean ratings out of lies, half-truths and misdirection. I stopped watching them 25 years ago because of their low class product. I fly Allegiant and they do just fine. As a pilot I know when things are not right.

Posted by: bruce postlethwait | April 16, 2018 2:52 PM    Report this comment

Just another biased press hit job on an industry it doesn't remotely grasp. Wonder who at Allegiant pissed the gods off, however, it looks like being covered in 60 Minutes may have an impact on revenue. We seem to be in need of this kind of drama...

Posted by: Jason Baker | April 16, 2018 3:06 PM    Report this comment

Mr. Beaver, yes you're right, that should read U.S. airline. Thanks for the catch! Story has been updated.

Posted by: Mary Grady | April 16, 2018 4:19 PM    Report this comment

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