New SRQ carrier Allegiant has safety record scrutinized on '60 Minutes'

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Allegiant Airlines is under fire today after a seven-month "60 Minutes" investigation raised questions about the company's safety record.

On Monday, Allegiant issued a statement by Eric Gust, vice president of operations, charging that the CBS story told a "false narrative" about Allegiant and the FAA.

Safety experts say the numbers tell another story.

Allegiant Air has said it wants to break ground on its Sunseeker resort this summer, building more than 700 condo units, along the Peace River in Port Charlotte.

On Sunday evening, CBS "60 minutes" aired a scathing report, which found that Allegiant Air's planes had three times as many mechanical problems with flights as six competing airlines between January 2017 and October 2017.

Allegiant now has fewer MD-80s than Delta and American Airlines, Piccolo added.

A Tampa Bay Times investigation - which included a first-of-its kind analysis of federal aviation records - has found that the budget carrier's planes are four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major USA airlines.

Last July, 10 Allegiant planes had to make unscheduled landings, "60 Minutes" reported.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson, the top Democrat on the committee that oversees airlines, asked the US Department of Transportation inspector general to investigate how the FAA handled safety incidents involving Allegiant.

"I would think that we might have a little bit of passenger loss in the first week or two, but over time I think when more of the story comes out, I think more passengers will feel comfortable to fly with Allegiant again", Hastert said.

Allegiant Airline launched its service at Charleston International on April 4 with Seasonal flights to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

60 Minutes took a hard look at discount carrier Allegiant Air Sunday night in a blistering report that centered on the airline's maintenance and operations practices which have led to a string of emergencies ranging from mid-air engine failure to unexplained fumes in cabins. "So, there is no consistency". Allegiant's used planes range between 11 and 32 years old, according to a company regulatory filing.

In 2015, the Tampa Bay Times said Allegiant planes were "four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major US airlines".

"One of the best ways to get attention for your cause as an airline pilot, is to talk about issues that might threaten safety and how the pilots are the only ones that are there protect you and how they need to be compensated as professionals", said Weinkrantz. There have been "no emergency responses due to aircraft problems" with Allegiant, Cantwell said.

Right now, the flight goes back and forth to Las Vegas on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Neither DeNardi and Syth have ever flown the airline, though both said they would have no reservations doing so.

Passengers getting ready to depart Punta Gorda said they were feeling somewhat wary, but still appreciative of what Allegiant has to offer.