NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – A new report uncovers alarming data about the reliability of Allegiant Air, one of the airlines that flies out of Niagara Falls International Airport.
The investigation, compiled and published by the Tampa Bay Times, is the latest in a series of reports the paper has issued on the reliability of Allegiant Air’s fleet of aircraft, many of which are older than their competitors.
“Breakdown at 30,000 Feet” is the headline for the report which examines FAA records for 2015, and found Allegiant’s aircraft were 4 times more likely to make emergency landings due to mechanical problems than their competitors.
During that time period, an Allegiant flight from Clearwater, Fla. en route to Niagara Falls was forced to land in Orlando, Fla. due to an engine problem.
Pat Doney of Fort Erie has heard of some of Allegiant’s problems but seemed undeterred. She had just arrived in Niagara Falls on an afternoon flight from Punta Gorda, Fla.
“I have had some late flights, but I have experienced that on other airlines, too. I love it because it flies from Niagara Falls to Punta Gorda, Florida, and it is a direct flight.”
A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement, Monday, they conducted a thorough investigation of Allegiant Air back in June and April, and did find “a number of deficiencies,” although none was considered a “systemic regulatory problem.”
The spokesperson also wrote, the “FAA is requiring Allegiant to develop a plan to address all of the issues,” and that Allegiant’s response to the Certificate Holder Evaluation Process (CHEP) conducted by the FAA was sufficient.
“We will continue to work with the airline on any outstanding issues that need to be addressed.”
Top officials for Allegiant have said they have made improvements, and cut their emergency landings by more than half.
That is welcome news to former Western New Yorker, Cindy Williams who came to visit from Ellenton, Fla. “To see it on paper, it is scary, but I have never experienced anything,” Williams said, “The flights take off, land, on time, every time without incident.”
Sarah Bacon of Medina arrived at Niagara Falls on her first flight with Allegiant, and did not seem to be discouraged by the report. “Everyone was really friendly. The flights were on time. They were really nice, I was a little nervous on a discount airline but I feel like it went well.”
Top executives for the Las Vegas based carrier have conceded, part of Allegiant’s reliability issues can be tied to the carrier’s rapid growth, and they have decided to slow things down to shore up those safety issues.