Last updated: 11:30 AM ET, Wed June 24 2015

Allegiant's Own Pilots Say Airline Cuts Corners

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | June 24, 2015

Allegiant's Own Pilots Say Airline Cuts Corners

Allegiant Airlines finds itself at a crossroads after its own pilots accused the Las Vegas-based carrier of cutting corners on maintenance and operations.

In a letter to Allegiant’s board of directors, pilots union president Daniel C. Wells, of APA Teamsters Local 1224, wrote that the company is nickel-and-diming its own employees – and passengers.

“Passengers shouldn’t have to wonder if their Allegiant flight will be the next one to make an emergency landing,” Wells wrote. “But with Allegiant’s nickel-and-dime approach to its operation, employees and safety, it puts passengers and flight crews at an unnecessary increased risk.”

The letter came on the heels of the two most recent incidents involving Allegiant – one in which passengers were forced to evacuate onto the wing of a plane in Boise, ID, and another in which a plane made an emergency landing in Clearwater, Fla.

In a new letter to the Board of Directors and Audit Committee Chair, Linda Marvin, Allegiant pilots wrote: “As you no doubt know, the pilots at Allegiant Air have concerns about the company’s bare minimum approach to maintenance and operation of the airline. … Rather than making the needed investments in maintenance and operation and negotiating a fair contract with pilots so we can work together to strengthen our airline, Allegiant is continuing to cut corners on industry-standard practices, including ignoring FAA recommendations on running important safety programs, using scheduling systems that create pilot fatigue and frustration and spending shareholder dollars on unnecessary legal fees and hours in court.”

The complaint also noted aA recent report from The Aviation Mechanics Coalition (TAMC) shows many of Allegiant’s schedule disruptions are due to avoidable mechanical and maintenance issues. Between January and March of 2015 alone, the union claims, there were 38 new instances of fixable mechanical issues such as engines failing, pressurization problems, smoke in the cockpit, radars being inoperable and anti-ice devices on windshields failing.

In a statement, Allegiant said the allegations were unfounded.

“Allegiant is in ongoing negotiations with our pilots, who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The report issued by the TAMC was commissioned by the Teamsters and was not conducted by Allegiant mechanics, who are not represented by the union,” the company said. “In our view this is just another tactic employed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in an effort to manipulate the public by raising unfounded concerns about the safety of our operations. Allegiant’s safety record is among the best in the aviation industry. In fact, as a result of the threatened strike by the Teamsters, Allegiant recently completed a period of heightened surveillance by FAA. Throughout this process, the FAA did not find any safety issues with our operations.”

Allegiant added: “Allegiant is fortunate that our unique network allows for our aircraft to be inspected and serviced by our mechanics every night. In addition to the routine maintenance and service on individual aircraft, Allegiant has two separate programs in place – an analysis and surveillance program and a reliability program – to continually monitor and share data with the FAA regarding the overall health of the fleet. Neither Allegiant nor the FAA have identified abnormal trends.”


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