Allegiant Airlines speak out following scathing '60 Minutes' report
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
Allegiant Airline is speaking out after a scathing CBS "60 Minutes" report put them on blast as possibly being one of the most dangerous airlines.
The airline provided ABC7 with the following statement following the report:
Attribution to Captain Eric Gust, Vice President of Operations:
"It is unfortunate and disappointing that CBS 60 Minutes has chosen to air a false narrative about Allegiant and the FAA. Not only do we expect our team members to adhere to all company procedures and policies—including safety procedures—but many positions are subject to statutory and regulatory obligations. The violation of those obligations would trigger not only punitive action from Allegiant, but could also result in enforcement action from regulatory agencies, loss of a certification, and even criminal charges. To suggest that Allegiant would engage in the practice of asking team members to violate company and regulatory obligations is offensive and defamatory.
CBS produced a one-sided narrative by cherry-picking interviews and ignoring publicly-available facts. For example, the show’s star interviewee, John Goglia, is not an un-biased commentator; he is a paid expert working for a former Allegiant pilot who has sued Allegiant. That pilot, Jason Kinzer, claims that he was wrongfully terminated after an evacuation. In fact, Kinzer was terminated because he unnecessarily evacuated a plane “at great risk to the crew and passengers” even though there “was no smoke, fire, or an aircraft malfunction,” and, during a post-flight investigation, he refused to “acknowledge his mistakes” or “demonstrate that he was capable of learning and growing from the event going forward.” (See Defendants’ Revised Motion for Summary Judgment, Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County, NV, Case No. A-15-727524-C.) Surprisingly, the 60 Minutes presentation of Mr. Kinzer’s case omits this publicly-available side of the story.
The FAA exercises rigorous oversight of Allegiant, as they do all airlines operating in the United States. Allegiant complies with all FAA requirements and participates in numerous voluntary safety programs to ensure we operate to the highest standards. Additionally, we expect our team members to follow all company policies and practice strict adherence to FAA regulations and guidelines. Several anonymous, non-disciplinary reporting systems are available through Allegiant as well as through the FAA for team members to report safety concerns. Notably, none of the concerns allegedly expressed by Allegiant team members during the 60 Minutes episode were found to have been reported through any of these appropriate channels.
Allegiant’s team members safely operate thousands of flights each week, which will transport more than 14 million passengers this year. We have safely carried nearly 90 million passengers since beginning operations in 2001. Our workforce is made up of more than 4,000 dedicated and hard-working people who wake up every day thinking about how to move our customers safely from one place to another.
Captain Eric Gust is Allegiant’s vice president of operations, responsible for the airline’s flight operations, safety and security teams. In this role he oversees all system pilots and pilot training operations, regulatory compliance and flight standards, and the safety and security of all operations, team members and passengers."
In addition, the following Fact Sheet was also provided by the airline:
Furthermore, Captain Steve Allen had the following to say:
"My name is Captain Steven Allen. I’ve been a pilot for close to 20 years, 4 of those years with Allegiant, and I am deeply offended by the accusations made about our operation in the recent 60 Minutes story. It is offensive to me and the hundreds of hardworking men and women I fly with every day to assume that we would ever knowingly operate unsafe aircraft. The Captain is the final authority to deem an aircraft ready for flight. To infer that any one of the professionals at Allegiant would fly anything less than a safe aircraft is appalling and insulting. I can say with confidence that if I ever felt the aircraft was not 100% safe, I would make my concerns known and feel confident I would not be reprimanded for doing so. From January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017 I was the Executive Council Chairman of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) at Allegiant – the pilot who was elected to represent our entire pilot group on behalf of our union. Throughout that year, I worked closely with the company’s operations and labor relations leadership. If I was ever made aware of any issues, I always felt comfortable bringing them forth for open discussion with the group, even if it was something we might disagree on. I can confidently say that our culture of safety continued to move in a positive direction, and that remains true today. Both Allegiant and the IBT have safety channels through which concerns can be brought forward. The company has made great strides in showing its willingness to work both with, and independent of, the Union to improve safety standards. Some programs have been developed and others enhanced that allow all pilots at Allegiant to avail themselves of the resources to address safety concerns without fear of discipline or retribution. This story is slanderous, and it is irresponsible to both our passengers and our employees. In today’s Allegiant these accusations are patently false. I am based in Florida while my family lives in Kentucky. My family flies on Allegiant often, frequently with me as their Captain. I certainly would not fly my own family if I had any concerns. Plain and simple – I am extremely confident in the safety aspect of this airline and feel the union that is supposed to represent me has abandoned all reason and logic in an attempt to gain cheap political points and notoriety on national television.
- Allegiant Captain Steven Allen"