Last updated: 01:26 PM ET, Wed April 01 2015

Pilot's Union Questions Allegiant Air's Safety Standards

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | April 01, 2015

Pilot's Union Questions Allegiant Air's Safety Standards

The focus on airline safety has never been higher, but the union representing Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air’s pilots has flipped the script by releasing a letter questioning the company’s safety standards.

According to Richard N. Velotta of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, APA Teamsters Local 1224 purchased advertising space on Google in order to release a letter to customers of Allegiant Air telling them that they could be “flying an airline that is content with just barely meeting acceptable safety standards.”

The letter from the Allegiant Air’s pilots—which can be found in its entirety here—shares the union's overall complaints about the company and why there is legitimate concern among the crew members and other airline personnel. Here is an excerpt:

"If you’ve had problems with Allegiant, you are not alone.  The company’s record delays and cancellations have led Allegiant to have the second-highest customer complaint rate out of any U.S. commercial airline. Meanwhile, the fleet is plagued by persistent mechanical problems due to poor equipment and the company’s unwillingness to invest in its operation or its workforce, as attested by the numerous FAA safety investigations, aircraft groundings, and training program closures.

"While our CEO and largest shareholder has taken home tens of millions of dollars in dividends in the past few years, the company has refused to reinvest returns into our infrastructure, our operation or the workforce. The company’s profits are propped up by the extra workload placed on its understaffed, underpaid and overworked workforce and its minimalist approach to maintenance and safety."

In response to the claims made by the pilot’s union, Allegiant officials told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the letter was a scare tactic. The root of the dispute surrounds the contract negotiations that have been ongoing on and off since December 2012.

While Allegiant officials believe negotiations will recommence in late April, the pilot’s union voted 465-8 in January to go on strike. Velotta is reporting that “At issue in the negotiations are pay and pilot work rules involving seniority and scheduling.”

Allegiant’s chief operating officer, Steve Harfst, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the National Mediation Board is overseeing negotiations and has ordered the two sides back to the negotiating table in Washington from April 29 through May 1.

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