Series of Incidents Cause FAA to Move Up Allegiant Audit
Photo by Paul Thompson
The FAA has confirmed that it is conducting an evaluation of Allegiant Air. This type of audit is common in the industry. The FAA conducts evaluations of every airline in the United States every five years. However, Allegiant’s inspection was not scheduled until 2018.
Regulators decided to move the audit up two years because of a series of recent (and not so recent) mishaps. At least two incidents involved Allegiant planes having to make emergency landings because they did not have enough fuel on board to remain in the air.
Then, last Thursday, an Allegiant plane had to make an emergency landing in Phoenix because of engine failure. That was, apparently, the last straw for the FAA. The evaluation was announced soon thereafter.
Such emergency landings have been commonplace for the low cost carrier over the past year. Also, its on time performance has been poor and it has been forced to cancel numerous flights.
The FAA announced the inspection in a statement: “The FAA is conducting a routine National Certificate Holder Evaluation of Allegiant Air. We do these on each U.S.-certificated airline every five years. We moved up the date for Allegiant’s evaluation from 2018 to 2016 to ensure that work the carrier is doing to address various internal issues has resulted in the desired improvements. We expect to have the evaluation done by late June.”
So it appears that any punishment action against Allegiant won’t be taken until sometime in June.
At least on the surface, Allegiant doesn’t seem concerned about the audit. “Allegiant's priority is to ensure the safety of each and every passenger that flies on our aircraft. We have every confidence in our operation, and commit to sharing a summary of the FAA's review after it is concluded."
However, Allegiant CEO Maurice Gallagher recently admitted that his airline has been struggling with operational issues. He called the middle of 2015 a “bad summer” after a spate of emergency landings in Florida made headlines. After the latest near-misses, it appears that the FAA has had enough and will put Allegiant under the microscope to see what is going wrong.
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