Anna Sheffer
April 16, 2018 11:12 am
Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

If you’re traveling long distances, air travel is often the safest and fastest way to get where you’re going. And with the rise of budget airlines, it’s now cheaper than ever before to traverse the country. But unfortunately, accidents do happen, and some airlines are more susceptible to them than others. For instance, a recent investigation carried out by 60 Minutes revealed that the low-cost airline Allegiant Air has experienced an abnormally high number of mechanical problems.

On 60 Minutes last night, April 15th, correspondent Steve Kroft reported that from January 1st, 2016 through October 2017, he found more than 100 mechanical problems on Allegiant Air flights. And these issues included serious problems like mid-air engine failure, smoke in the cabin, flight control malfunctions, and aborted takeoffs. All in all, the airline experienced 60 premature landings and 46 in-flight emergencies.

John Goglia, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board told Kroft that the number of incidents Allegiant experienced were “very, very high for an airline of its size.”

After the 60 Minutes segment aired, Eric Gust, Allegiant Air’s vice president of operations issued a statement in which he called the report “grossly misleading” and claimed that an ex-employee “involved in a lawsuit seeking money damages” had been behind the investigation.

In an April 11th letter to CBS News, Ali Bahrami from the Federal Aviation Administration defended the organization against charges in Kroft’s segment that it had failed to take action about Allegiant Air’s safety violations. Bahrami wrote, “The FAA is vigilant in scrutinizing the operations of all airlines,” and that in a 2016 review, it “did not find any systemic safety or regulatory problems” with Allegiant.

But other investigations of the Las Vegas-based airline have also raised the question of its safety. A 2016 report from the Tampa Bay Times reported that, after analyzing federal aviation records, Allegiant’s planes were four times more likely to fail than those of any other major airline. The Times also reported that Allegiant planes were an average of 10 years older than the competition’s planes.

This latest revelation about Allegiant Air is alarming. And while flying always comes with some risk, this 60 Minutes report is a reminder to be careful about which airline we book our next ticket with. Fly safely, everyone!

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