Local experts: Allegiant Air will face some fallout from '60 Minutes' investigation

WSBT 22 photo

A seven-month "60 Minutes" investigation into Allegiant Air, found more than 100 serious incidents involving mechanical issues.

The story aired Sunday night.

Public documents show aborted takeoffs, cabin pressure loss, emergency descents and unscheduled landings.

Experts say it may be the most dangerous airline.

The airline alleges the segment was a "false narrative."

Allegiant flies out of the South Bend airport. It's known for direct flights to Florida, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

WSBT 22 spoke to local experts who say there's going to be some fallout for Allegiant from the “60 Minutes” investigation.

Allegiant stock is dropping and many local travel agencies have had people call, asking to cancel their already booked flights.

But experts WSBT 22 spoke to say the FAA is thorough and they trust that Allegiant is safe.

Allegiant Airlines is a staple at the South Bend International Airport.

For travel agents like Amy Riffle, the airline is a popular choice for her clients.

"With the direct flights to Florida, it's a really easy and inexpensive way to get out of South Bend,” said Riffle, agency manager for Edgerton Travel.

“60 Minutes” highlighted public documents that show Allegiant has had mechanical issues, especially on the older planes the airline uses, like MD-80s.

"They're a little bit older without a doubt and they're pretty much at the end of their life cycles. There's not that many people flying them anymore,” said David Powell, Dean of the College of Aviation at Western Michigan University.

Powell says while the planes are older, they're constantly being checked.

“As long as you maintain an airplane they can last many, many years,” said Powell.

Riffle says first thing Monday morning, she got a call from a worried client.

"A lot of the airports that Allegiant flies into are smaller, kind of regional airports, and they're the only airline that services those areas. So, she was looking to see if there was another option, another airline that would fly into that airport and there really isn't,” said Riffle.

But she says she trusts the airline and wouldn't advise anyone to change their plans.

“It's definitely just a personal choice. If you don't feel comfortable, then you have to look for other options,” said Riffle.

Powell agrees.

“As long as the FAA says they're OK, then I really don't concern myself with it. It's really a safe environment and everyone works exceptionally hard to make it safe,” said Powell.

Both Powell and Riffle are flying Allegiant out of the South Bend airport in the next couple months.

Powell says he thinks the FAA will now be even more critical of Allegiant and make sure everything is up to code.

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