Friday, September 21, 2018
Business

Statement: Allegiant blasts ‘60 Minutes’ report as ‘one-sided’ and a ‘false narrative’

Allegiant Airlines representatives called a segment on its airplanes a "false narrative" and insisted that the company forces strict compliance with Federal Aviation Administration practices.

In a statement, Captain Eric Gust, the company’s vice president of operations, lambasted an investigation from CBS’s 60 Minutes that found the airline’s planes were 3.5 times more likely to have midair breakdowns than other major carriers.

RELATED: The key takeaways from the ‘60 Minutes’ report on Allegiant Air

He called the reports "outdated" and said they were lacking an understanding on FAA practices.

"This one-sided presentation falls far short of responsible journalistic standards expected from reputable outlets, including 60 Minutes."

This statement comes after a Tampa Bay Times investigation found that found Allegiant Air’s planes are four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major U.S. airlines among other disturbing practices. CBS’s 60 Minutes aired a segment Sunday that reiterated the findings.

RELATED: Thousands of people flew Allegiant last year thinking their planes wouldn’t fail in the air. They were wrong.

READ ALLEGIANT’S FULL RESPONSE

From Captain Eric Gust, Vice President of Operations

"It is unfortunate and disappointing that CBS 60 Minutes has chosen to air a false narrative about Allegiant and the FAA. This unoriginal and outdated story bears no resemblance to Allegiant’s operations today, and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of FAA compliance practice and history. It focused primarily on events of several years past, prior to the FAA’s most recent comprehensive audit of Allegiant Air, which revealed no systemic or regulatory deficiencies.

"It has come to our attention that the story was instigated by a terminated employee, currently engaged in a lawsuit seeking monetary damages from the company. 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 responsible journalistic standards expected from reputable outlets, including 60 Minutes.

"The FAA is recognized around the world as the gold standard with regard to transportation safety, and as a result the airline industry in the U.S. has never been safer.

"The FAA exercises rigorous oversight of Allegiant, as they do all airlines operating in the United States. Allegiant complies with all FAA requirements and participates in numerous voluntary safety programs to ensure we operate to the highest standards. Additionally, we expect our team members to follow all company policies and practice strict adherence to FAA regulations and guidelines. Several anonymous, non-disciplinary reporting systems are available through Allegiant as well as through the FAA for team members to report safety concerns. Interestingly, none of the concerns allegedly expressed by Allegiant team members during the 60 Minutes episode were found to have been reported through any of these appropriate channels.

"Allegiant’s workforce is made up of more than 4,000 dedicated and hard-working people who wake up every day thinking about how to move our customers safely from one place to another. Our team members safely operate thousands of flights each week, which will transport more than 14 million passengers this year. We have safely carried nearly 90 million passengers since beginning operations in 2001.

"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 US airlines.

"Not only do we expect our team members to adhere to all company procedures and policies, but many positions are subject to statutory and regulatory obligations, the violation of which would not only trigger punitive action from the company, but could also result in enforcement action from regulatory agencies, loss of a certification, and even criminal charges. To suggest that Allegiant would engage in the practice of asking team members to violate company and regulatory obligations is offensive and defamatory."

MORE ON ALLEGIANT

The FAA could have cracked down on Allegiant Air. It didn’t. [Dec. 16, 2016]

An FAA investigation warned of ‘potential tragedies.’ Officials hid it from the public[May 12, 2017]

Allegiant Airlines replaces aging fleet at St. Pete-Clearwater airport

Allegiant Air parent’s stock drops 8 percent ahead of ‘60 Minutes’ investigation

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