April 16, 2018 5:23 pm
Updated: April 16, 2018 11:44 pm

Allegiant Air’s safety record questioned in scathing ’60 Minutes’ report

A low-cost airline popular with British Columbians is in the spotlight tonight, with serious questions being raised about its safety record. Paul Johnson reports.

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An airline popular with British Columbians travelling to the U.S. is under fire after a scathing report by CBS News’ 60 Minutes.

Following a seven-month investigation, the CBS program said Federal Aviation Administration reports showed that Allegiant airplanes are “nearly three and a half times more likely to have serious in-flight mechanical failures than other U.S. Airlines.”

The report also said Allegiant experienced more than 100 serious mechanical incidents between Jan. 1, 2016 and October 2017.

The Las-Vegas-based airline flies out of Bellingham International Airport, located around 32 kilometres south of the U.S.-Canada border, to destinations like Las Vegas, Palm Springs, San Diego and Phoenix.

From 2017: Woman says she was removed from Allegiant Airlines flight after falling asleep

The report also aired a long-running accusation by the Teamsters union local representing Allegiant pilots that the airline discourages pilots from reporting mechanical problems with planes.

In a statement, Eric Gust, Allegiant Air’s vice-president of operations, accused CBS of telling a “false narrative.”

“To suggest that Allegiant would engage in the practice of asking team members to violate company and regulatory obligations is offensive and defamatory,” he said.

WATCH: Allegiant flight 426 out of fuel, requests emergency landing

Sunday’s report is not the first time the budget airline has faced media scrutiny.

In 2015, the Tampa Bay Times said Allegiant planes were “four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major U.S. airlines.”

Shares of parent company Allegiant Travel Co. fell three per cent on Monday.

— With files from the Associated Press

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