A CBS "60 Minutes report" about Allegiant Air has rattled some nerves. The report that aired Sunday night explored reports of aborted takeoffs, loss of cabin pressure, and emergency landings related to the MD-80s that part of the Allegiant fleet.
Allegiant is the primary carrier out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. After announcing an expansion at the airport last June, the airline in November celebrated 10 years and 10 million passengers through the airport.
The "60 Minutes" report focused Allegiant's safety record and self-reported incidents, including problems with the McDonnell-Douglas MD-80, an older plane that has given the airline problems for years. The MD-80, according to the report, makes up 30 percent of the Allegiant fleet, and most of those planes were bought "second-hand from foreign airlines."
But you won't see MD-80s at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway.
“We’re now served by the newer Airbus 319 and 320 aircraft, which are more reliable,” says Brian O’Neill, executive director of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Authority. “They’re quieter for the community; they’re more efficient.”
O’Neill says MD-80s haven’t flown in and out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway in more than a year after the airport underwent a full transition.
O’Neill says he has confidence in Allegiant Air.
“We do have a lot of confidence, though, because we work closely with the FAA and we know how strict their guidelines are,” says O’Neill.
Some passengers, however, are concerned by the "60 Minutes" report.
[CBSNews.com: Allegiant Air: The budget airline flying under the radar]
“Had I known that that was an issue that Allegiant had, it’s certainly something I would have taken into consideration before booking a flight,” says passenger Molly Walnum who arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway on her very first Allegiant flight. It will not be her last.
“We have to get home to Bozeman through Allegiant so I’m hoping that our plane is safe,” says Walnum.
In a statement Monday, Allegiant said it has 31 MD-80s in its entire fleet.
Arizona's Family has reached out to other airlines. Southwest says it only flies Boeing 737s. American Airlines says it has 44 MD-80s, and none of them fly to Phoenix. The airline says it is phasing out the MD-80, removing all of them from the fleet by 2019.
MORE STORIES ABOUT ALLEGIANT'S MD-80sAllegiant Air flight evacuated over smell (May 19, 2014) Allegiant: 1 in 10 tickets affected by MD-80 rehab (Sept. 23, 2013) Allegiant grounds MD-80 aircraft to inspect slides (Sept. 20, 2013)
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