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Allegiant CEO disputes ‘60 Minutes’ segment on Las Vegas carrier

Updated April 18, 2018 - 7:56 pm

Allegiant Travel Co. CEO Maury Gallagher issued a recorded statement disputing a “60 Minutes” segment that questioned the Las Vegas-based budget carrier’s safety record.

Gallagher took issue with the CBS news program, which reported that Allegiant logged more than 100 serious mechanical problems between Jan. 1, 2016, and October 2017, including rapid descents, engine failures and aborted takeoffs.

“Frankly, the story includes more inaccuracies and misrepresentations of fact than I can count, including biased sources and outdated data,” Gallagher said on the video, which was uploaded to YouTube and linked to Allegiant’s website. “Sadly, it has caused some concerns for our traveling public.”

The show aired Sunday night, about a month before a Clark County District Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments in a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by former Allegiant pilot Jason Kinzer, who was fired six weeks after ordering his passengers to evacuate during a 2015 emergency landing.

“60 Minutes” had extensively interviewed John Goglia, a former National Transportation Safety Board member who heavily criticized Allegiant. Allegiant executives said that the show’s producers failed to disclose that Goglia is a paid expert witness in Kinzer’s upcoming trial.

The Federal Aviation Administration this week also disputed allegations in the “60 Minutes” segment, which stated the agency “switched priorities” three years ago from enforcing airlines to comply with safety regulations to now working behind the scenes with carriers as a way to correct problems.

Since 2015, the FAA has investigated 48 violations with Allegiant Air and “ensured the carrier took corrective action,” agency officials said.

“I fly Allegiant, my families flies Allegiant. The pilots and flight attendants and other Allegiant team members fly our airplanes every day without hesitation,” Gallagher said. “They are on our planes because they know every Allegiant team member values safety above all else. Nothing less is acceptable.”

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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