Allegiant Air: 8 News NOW digs into scathing allegations about the airline; Allegiant responds

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A Southwest Airlines jet blew an engine at 32,000 feet and got hit by shrapnel that smashed a window, setting off a desperate scramble by passengers to save a woman from getting sucked out. She later died, and seven others were injured.

The Southwest Airlines incident comes after “60 Minutes” put out a scathing report about Las Vegas-based Allegiant Airlines.

Allegiant has a large presence at McCarran operating out of up to 15 gates, and as of this month, it serves 54 destinations with 175 weekly flights originating from Las Vegas.

The “60 Minutes” report covers a span of nearly three years: January 1, 2015, to October 31, 2017.  8 News NOW found a half-dozen issues related to Las Vegas over that time span.

The bulk of the issues were in 2015.
In September, a Las Vegas-bound flight diverted to Utah because of a “possible maintenance issue.”

In August, an MD-83 aborted takeoff at McCarran after its nose came up too early, which officials blamed on a bad bolt in the tail.

Bloomberg reported that three planes were found to have that problem.  Also that month, a plane returned to McCarran after takeoff due to an engine compressor problem.
 
And that January, a flight returned to McCarran after a smoke alarm went off, though officials didn’t find Andy smoke nor safety risks.

CEO Maurice Gallagher junior addressed the idea of the FAA taking a look at the airline after the pilots union raised safety concerns in 2016.

“The FAA; we’re partners,” said Gallagher.  “We have complete transparency with everything we do with the FAA and if they want to come in and take a look at us by all means.”

Allegiant pilot Steven Allan, who represented the airline’s pilots in the union last year, said in a statement, “plain and simple, I am extremely confident in the safety aspect of this airline.”  

“I have encouraged my family, my friends and myself not to fly on Allegiant,” said John Goglia/Former NTSB Board Member

The airline also takes issue with Goglia, who it says has been out of the NTSB for almost 15 years, and serves as an expert witness for an employee who was fired by Allegiant.  The former employee is currently suing the company.

The airline has reported fewer mechanical incidents as it phases out its aging MD-80 airliners.  The airline currently operates 31 of the planes and says it will phase all of them out by the end of the year.

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