WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI/AP) — The low-cost carrier Allegiant Air is under fire following a "60 Minutes" investigation that raised significant safety concerns.
Investigators with the news program found that between Jan. 1, 2016 and October 2017, the Las Vegas airline experienced more than 100 serious mechanical incidents, including aborted takeoffs, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions and midair engine failures.
More than a year's worth of Federal Aviation Administration reports for Allegiant and seven other airlines show that the carrier was on average nearly three and a half times more likely to have a midair breakdown than Delta, United, American, Spirit, or JetBlue.
Allegiant Air began flights in and out of Rhode Island's T.F. Green Airport in September 2017.
Bill Fischer, a spokesperson for the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, said in a statement that T.F. Green airport has not experienced issues with Allegiant.
“We have only had a positive experience with Allegiant Airlines since they began operations last year. Allegiant has not experienced any safety incidents related to flights either departing or arriving at T. F. Green." - Bill Fischer, RIAC spokesman
Fischer added that all further inquiries regarding the interview should be sent to the airline directly.
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Captain Eric Gust, vice president of operations at Allegiant, said in a prepared statement that "60 Minutes" aired a "false narrative" about Allegiant and the FAA, which he said exercises "rigorous oversight" of the airline. Gust also said Allegiant complies with all FAA requirements and participates in numerous voluntary safety programs.
"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.
Shares of parent company Allegiant Travel Co. slid 4.6 percent in early trading.
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