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Allegiant Air: Union report about maintenance problems unfair and 'reckless'

Allegiant Air is critcizing a report that says the airline has a high number of maintenance problems.  (AP Photo/Larry MacDougal)
Allegiant Air is critcizing a report that says the airline has a high number of maintenance problems. (AP Photo/Larry MacDougal)
Published Mar. 8, 2016

Allegiant Air on Monday criticized a report by the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition that alleges the airline is suffering an unusually high number of maintenance problems that interrupt flights and departures.

The report by the coalition, which is working with the Teamster local representing pilots, said the Las Vegas airline continues to suffer from a "high rate" of preventable emergency landings, flight delays, aborted takeoffs and other issues — 98 from September 2015 to January.

Allegiant did not respond to a request for comment for a story published Monday by the Tampa Bay Times. But the Las Vegas-based airline released a statement to several other news outlets.

"The Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition has never inspected a single Allegiant aircraft and has no firsthand knowledge of our operation," the Allegiant statement said. "The Teamsters currently represent our pilots and have a history of manipulating the media to attempt to exert pressure on contract negotiations. It is irresponsible and reckless for the Teamsters to make unfounded claims regarding safety to the public in order to circumvent mediated negotiations.

"Allegiant is a safe airline, and our robust maintenance program goes above and beyond manufacturer and (Federal Aviation Administration) recommendations and guidelines. To insinuate otherwise as a means of gaining leverage at the bargaining table is irresponsible. Furthermore, it is demeaning to the vast network of aviation professionals at Allegiant for whom the safety of our passengers and crew is their life's work."

The union has denied to reporters that it is raising questions about safety as a ploy in negotiations.

Of the 98 incidents in the report, 12 involved aircraft flying either from or to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, where 95 percent of the airport's passenger traffic is tied to Allegiant. A record 1.6 million passengers used the airport in 2015.

Contact William R. Levesque at levesque@tampabay.com. Follow @Times_Levesque.