Senators Markey and Blumenthal Demand Answers from FAA on Alleged Allegiant Air Safety Lapses
60 Minutes investigation reveals years of lax enforcement at FAA for alarming number of mechanical safety issues at Allegiant Air
Washington (April 16, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal D-Conn.), members of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today requested that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) explain its safety compliance procedures and work to improve the safety of Allegiant Air’s operations. A recent CBS News 60 Minutes investigation revealed that over a 22-month period ending in October 2017, Allegiant Air was 3.5 times more likely than seven other airlines to have serious in-flight mechanical failures, including mid-air engine failures, smoke and hazardous fumes in the cabin, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks, and aborted takeoffs. In 2015 the FAA changed its compliance philosophy from one emphasizing enforcement and penalties to one focusing on airline cooperation.
“Only if there is evidence that an airline supports an intentional deviation, reckless or criminal behavior, or other significant safety risk will the FAA consider an airline ineligible for non-enforcement actions,” write Senators Markey and Blumenthal in their letter to FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell. “Despite Allegiant’s high number of significant and repeated mechanical incidents, the investigation alleged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not brought a single enforcement action against the company in three years.”
A copy of the Senators’ letter can be found HERE.
Senators Markey and Blumenthal are requesting answers to several questions about the FAA’s compliance and enforcement policy, including:
- Has the FAA looked into claims that Allegiant Air is creating a culture that discourages safety-related violation reporting?
- How frequently do consumers and airline employees utilize the FAA’s hotline to anonymously bring safety concerns to the FAA’s attention? And what is the FAA’s process for following up on legitimate concerns raised through the hotline?
- What are the FAA’s policies, practices, and procedures for following up on safety issues that are self-reported by airlines?
- Does the FAA review news reports or consumer complaints to ensure that significant airlines safety issues are not missed?