Allegiant Air faces new safety scrutiny

Posted at 9:56 PM, Mar 06, 2016

A new scathing report on the safety of Allegiant Airlines is expected from the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Monday.

It comes right after an Allegiant plane's takeoff was aborted in Fort Wayne, Indiana Saturday because of smoke in the cabin. That plane was headed to St. Pete-Clearwater Airport.

"I was toward the back on the right side and heard a big pop and thought it sounded like a tire popping. They immediately slowed down, turned, and let us know it was something inside the engine that we could actually see right outside our window. There was something that had fallen off one of the right engines. I'm just glad we were here and not up in the air," a passenger on that plane said.

Less than a month ago, a flight that took off from St. Pete-Clearwater had to make an emergency landing in Alabama because of an electrical odor in the cabin. And back in January, the company's chief operating officer stepped down. All that is on the heels of a year's worth of safety concerns.

One former mechanic telling WFTS-TV in December that all those issues are why he resigned.

"Typically i was observing that they just did not know what they were doing, but went ahead and dispatched the plane," said Greg Marino.

Despite those complaints, and the report expected Monday, Allegiant insists the pilots union is making false accusations in the middle of contract negotiations and that its planes are safe.  The airline released the following statement:

"The Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition has never inspected a single Allegiant aircraft and has no firsthand knowledge of our operation. The Teamsters currently represent our pilots and have a history of manipulating the media to attempt to exert pressure on contract negotiations. It is irresponsible and reckless for the Teamsters to make unfounded claims regarding safety to the the public in order to circumvent mediated negotiations.

Allegiant is a safe airline, and our robust maintenance program goes above and beyond manufacturer and FAA recommendations and guidelines. To insinuate otherwise as a means of gaining leverage at the bargaining table is irresponsible. Furthermore, it is demeaning to the vast network of aviation professionals at Allegiant for whom the safety of our passengers and crew is their life's work. "