Allegiant Air Review by FAA Finds ‘Minor’ Safety DeviationsBy and
Agency calls violations ‘non-systemic’ and won’t seek penalty
Evaluation followed incidents at the carrier last year
Allegiant Air used incorrect pilot training materials, its flight manuals were missing information and forms weren’t properly completed, a U.S. government review of the airline found.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration concluded the issues it uncovered in its evaluation were “minor” and “non-systemic,” according to a letter to the carrier posted on Allegiant’s website Thursday. The FAA won’t pursue any penalties or enforcement action, the agency said in an e-mailed statement.
The Las Vegas-based company has already begun addressing the matters raised in the FAA review, known as a Certificate Holder Evaluation Process, it said in a statement posted on its website. Allegiant had faced more than a year of stories about diverted flights and unusual events, including an aborted high-speed takeoff after a key flight control surface failed.
“We welcome the FAA’s review and view the CHEP process as an opportunity to further enhance our safety and operational reliability for the future,” Jude Bricker, Allegiant’s chief operating officer, said in the statement.
The FAA’s review, essentially an audit of safety at the airline, found issues in multiple areas of the company, from pilot training to how it calculates the weight of passengers, cargo and fuel on flights. None of the findings suggested inherent safety issues or were done intentionally, the FAA said.
Allegiant came under government scrutiny last year after a mechanical failure caused the nose of one of its Boeing Co. MD-83s to rise off the ground before it was moving fast enough for takeoff, despite the crew’s attempts to push it down.
Pilots were forced to abruptly halt their takeoff roll at 138 miles an hour to regain control of the plane in the Aug. 17 incident, the FAA said at the time. Allegiant later discovered that a critical piece of equipment in the tail of the aircraft had come loose.
When the airline inspected all its MD-80s afterward, it found three other jets with bolts that weren’t properly secured to aircraft control systems, according to repair logs obtained by Bloomberg News.
The agency also opened an investigation at Allegiant after a July 2015 incident in which a pilot declared he was so low on fuel he needed to make an emergency landing. The incident occurred after Hector International Airport in Fargo, North Dakota, had been closed for a pre-air show rehearsal by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels aerobatics team.
Jetliners are required to carry enough fuel to fly well beyond their destination. The Allegiant pilot told Hector officials he didn’t have enough fuel to wait to land or proceed to another airport about 70 miles away.
Officials of the carrier, a unit of Allegiant Travel Co., said in April it had increased spending on safety management, training facilities and newer planes to improve operations.