One airline experiences four times more mid-air breakdowns than any other U.S. airline, according to a new report. Inc. reveals that Allegiant Air tops the record with unscheduled landings due to mechanical issues.
Analysis taken by the Tampa Bay Times uncovered some startling statistics concerning mechanical issues that face the airline’s planes. It was determined that Allegiant Air was four times more likely to have unscheduled landings due to mechanical problems over other U.S. carriers from January 2015 to September 2016.
— William R. Levesque (@Times_Levesque) November 2, 2016
Summing up what the Times reports, Allegiant has 86 planes, and 42 of them broke down at least one time during flights in 2015. The commercial carrier’s planes had a minimum of 77 forced landings as a result of mechanical failures. There were 39 engine failures between January 2015 and September 2016. Moreover, Allegiant made repairs to essential parts of its planes, but the same parts broke down again a total of 18 times last year. Allegiant Air has a fleet of planes that average 22 years of age and maintenance engineers are at 11 of the 118 airports they fly passengers to. Other airlines have engineers at the same number of airports.
On average, an airline may have three unplanned landings for every 10,000 flights; Allegiant Air had over 12 mid-air mechanical failures.
Maurice Gallagher, Jr., CEO of Allegiant Air, said the conclusion of the analysis was “unacceptable” and review what they did in 2015.
“I can look at what we did (in 2015) and it wasn’t acceptable,” Gallagher said. “I don’t disagree with the thrust of your numbers. We want to be well-known as being reliable and on time, and obviously safe, and that’s an important part of our brand. And we’re going to make sure we do those things. But if you stub your toe, step up and own it and move on.”
The airline issued a statement following the Times‘ report.
“Maintenance events are not tied to any specific location or to the age of an aircraft,” the airline wrote. “Most maintenance events are related not to the age of the aircraft, but rather to the number of takeoffs and landings (cycles) performed by an individual plane.”
Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler told the Times in 2015 that the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t found any cause for concern.
Allegiant Air flys in and out of Niagara Falls International Airport. This is something travelers may want to note. https://t.co/3MkqcW3LGW
— 7 Eyewitness News (@WKBW) November 6, 2016
While Gallagher did say that Allegiant Air is making progress improving upon its performance. The CEO had a meeting with state and local officials in April addressing the “bad summer” the airline had in 2015.
“When you put people and machines together, there are going to be problems,” Gallagher said. “The issues you’ve read about in the paper are directly related to our own growth. We’ve since changed our management here (in Pinellas County). You won’t see that experience again.”
Allegiant Air admits it needs to replace its outdated MD-80 planes, which has disappointed the carrier in reliability. The airline plans to purchase 12 new Airbus planes over the course of the next two years. Allegiant Air has routinely bought used planes at reduced cost.
According to the report, emergency landings at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport first drew attention that something wasn’t going right with some of Allegiant Air’s planes. The incidents attracted a closer look at Allegiant’s adherence to safety and reliability.
Inc. reports that in 2015 Allegiant Air was the most profitable airline in America. It had a net profit for the quarter of $56.7 million last December; that was 11 times more profit than what was made in 2014.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]