PHOTO: An Allegiant Air MD-83 in flight. (Photo via Flickr/InSapphoWeTrust)
A recent investigation from the Tampa Bay Times has uncovered that Allegiant Air flights were four times more likely to make an unexpected landing as a result of serious mechanical issues in 2015 compared to any other major U.S. airline.
The Times' report revealed that the carrier's planes made 77 unexpected landings last year due to serious mechanical failures, and nearly half of the Las Vegas-based low-cost carrier's fleet of 86 planes broke down at least once over the course of 2015.
Despite the frequency of the events, none of the incidents prompted enforcement from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Earlier this year, though, the FAA moved up its audit of the airline following a series of emergency landings. However, the evaluation found only "minor" and "non-systemic" issues, according to the Wall Street Journal.
READ MORE: Can New Planes Really Make Allegiant Safer?
"I can look at what we did (in 2015) and it wasn't acceptable," Allegiant Air CEO Maurice Gallagher Jr. told the Times in an interview last month. "I don't disagree with the thrust of your numbers."
"We want to be well-known as being reliable and on time, and obviously safe, and that's an important part of our brand," Gallagher added. "And we're going to make sure we do those things. But if you stub your toe, step up and own it and move on."
While Allegiant has been quick to downplay the string of in-flight breakdowns and point fingers at its pilots union for contributing to the bad press in the past, the budget carrier appears determined to make some changes in an effort to improve.
According to the Times, Allegiant plans to purchase a dozen new Airbus planes over the next two years as it looks to replace its aging fleet of MD-80 aircraft.