The Times states that its investigation, “which included a first-of-its kind analysis of federal aviation records—has found that the budget carrier’s planes are four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major U.S. airlines.”
Here are some of the key findings uncovered by the Times, which were not disputed by the airline:
“Forty-two of Allegiant’s 86 planes broke down in mid-flight at least once in 2015. Among them were 15 forced to land by failing engines, nine by overheating tail compartments and six by smoke or the smell of something burning.”
“Eighteen times last year, key parts such as engines, sensors and electronics failed once in flight, got checked out, and then failed again, causing another unexpected landing.”
“Allegiant relies most heavily on McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, an aging model retired by all but two other major U.S. carriers. The company’s MD-80s fail twice as often as those operated by American Airlines and three times as often as those flown by Delta.”
According to the Times, Allegiant officials initially declined to comment on the story, and in fact had remained mostly silent as anecdotal evidence of the airline’s woeful safety record accumulated. But when the Times presented Allegiant with its findings, they agreed to talk and, ultimately, acknowledged that change is needed.