SHREVEPORT, La -
If you're flying out of Shreveport, be warned!
New safety concerns for low cost carrier Allegiant Airlines. Despite it success as the most profitable airline of 2015, its facing new criticism over it's safety.
After two emergency landings in Florida, these two Allegiant Airlines passengers have had enough.
"I'm really afraid to get back on the plane," said a female passenger in Jacksonville.
"It was like getting in a car crash, everything just flew up for like two seconds. Everyone was like what just happened," said another in Tampa.
Allegiant Airlines is the most profitable low cost carrier, but passengers in Shreveport are concerned if Allegiant air safe to fly? Former aircraft mechanic Regis Reddinger believes the airlines mechanical failures are being blown out of proportion.
"Everything will beak at some point all you can do is preventative maintenance. You can't predict when it's gonna break," said Reddinger.
But according to the Federal Aviation Administration, the average US airline has about 3 unexpected landings, caused by mechanical problems for every 10-thousand times it flies. in 2015 allegiant had 12. Chris Moore, Chairman of the Aviation Mechanics Coalition is concerned. Allegiant Air's planes break down four times more often mid-flight than any other airline.
"We talked to mechanics, we talked to pilots and there seems to be a lax culture in maintenance," said Moore.
Moore's accusations are supported by a recent investigation by the Tampa Bay Times. It states, in 2015, 42 of Allegiant's 86 planes broke down at least once. The jets were forced to land 77 times for serious mechanical failures. The main causes: failing engines, overheating tail compartments, and smoke - or the smell of something burning. Moore says for years his agency has complained to the airlines and the FAA about issues with Allegiant planes.
"We think that an airline that is highly profitable should be putting more money into its maintenance program," Moore added.
But Allegiant's repair process, according to the Times report, is just as troubling. 18 times last year, "key parts" such as engines, sensors, and electronics-failed in-flight. Each time they were investigated, but then failed again, resulting in another unexpected landing.
Confronted with the statistics, Allegiant CEO Maurice Gallagher, Jr. admitted the company would do better: saying "We're very much focused on running a better operation".
Those improvements include phasing out it's MD80 fleet, which was purchased already used from foreign carriers. Currently, only two other airlines - American and Delta- still use the MD-80 as part of their regular service, and Allegiant's MD-80s break down twice as often. Shreveport passenger Connie Persley say's she would rather pay full fare to fly with an airline with a better safety record.
"If you gonna break down at mid flight, I wanna live! I do not want to be on the plane that gets seriously damaged or die," said Persley.
The FAA's recent report only found several "minor, non-systemic deficiencies with Allegiant's fleet. Which is basically a seal of approval that it is safe to fly.