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Allegiant Air feels impact of damaging '60 Minutes' report

By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent

April 16. 2018 4:32PM
Robert Kane, left, and Sean Jenks of Port City Air refuel an Allegiant Air passenger jet during a turnaround at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease in 2016. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER FILE)



PORTSMOUTH – Shares of Allegiant Air slid in early trading Monday after a “60 Minutes” report Sunday night about mid-air breakdowns and other safety problems at the airline.

Allegiant Air offers flights from Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, as well as Daytona Beach, Orlando and Fort Myers in Florida.

The “60 Minutes” report used public documents filed by Allegiant Air with the Federal Aviation Administration to show serious mechanical incidents, aborted takeoffs, cabin-pressure loss, emergency descents and unscheduled landings between January 2016 and October 2017.

According to its website, Allegiant Air has almost 130 flights to and from destinations in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Allegiant’s Vice President of Operations Capt. Eric Gust defended the company and issued a statement saying the report by “60 Minutes” is unoriginal and outdated.

“It focused primarily on events of several years past, prior to the FAA’s most recent comprehensive audit of Allegiant Air, which revealed no systematic or regulatory deficiencies,” Gust said. “If ‘60 Minutes’ had been interested in current information, they would have reported that today, according to just-released Department of Transportation data, Allegiant is a leader in reliability, with the second-lowest cancelation rate among all U.S. airlines.”

Gust said it has come to the airline’s attention that a terminated employee currently engaged in a lawsuit seeking monetary damages from the company instigated the report.

“The story features cherry-picked interviews with people involved in the lawsuit, including featured comments from John Goglia, a paid plaintiff’s witness presented by CBS as an unbiased industry expert. This one-sided presentation falls far short of the responsible journalistic standards expected from reputable outlets, including ‘60 Minutes,’” Gust said.

The Las Vegas-based company reported that last month, it had 1,356,305 scheduled passengers, up from 1,143,571 in March of 2017.

In the first quarter, Allegiant had 3,279,368 scheduled passengers, up from 2,845,480 in the first quarter of last year, according to a press release issued April 5.

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


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