Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Allegiant CEO Addresses 60 Minutes Report


Allegiant Airlines, one of the low-cost carriers located at CVG has come under fire after a report published by 60 Minutes detailed that the Las Vegas-based airliner is nearly 3.5 times more likely to have an inflight mechanical emergency than any other large U.S. airline.

Maury Gallagher, Allegiant's CEO, published a letter in response to the report, noting that the story was "a regurgitation of old news, full of inaccuracies, half-truths, and a primary “expert” witness who has never seen the inside of our operation, and who is currently paid as a witness to testify critically against Allegiant in a pending court case."

The company noted that CBS’ report focused on Allegiant’s dwindling fleet of old McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jets, all of which will be retired from the fleet by year’s end.

"Allegiant participates in all seven of the FAA’s voluntary safety programs," wrote Gallagher. 


"The FAA continues to oversee our operation, as they do all airlines, and in their most recent CHEP audit, found no regulatory or systemic deficiencies. Furthermore, the FAA, known worldwide as the gold standard for aviation safety, has reached unprecedented levels of safety in recent years, which again calls into question the entire premise of the 60 Minutes story." 

Allegiant pilot, Chris Whynott, has been captain at Allegiant since 2015 and worked in the training department as an instructor for nearly two years. He said that safety at Allegiant is their number one concern. 

"My family, to include my wife and children, fly on Allegiant and I have 100% confidence in every employee here that make our flights happen," he said. "I have worked on and flown airplanes since April 1988 (30 years this month) and I would never accept an airplane that I didn’t consider 100% airworthy and to this day, Allegiant has never tried to force me to fly one that wasn’t 100% safe."

Read Maury Gallagher's letter in its entirety below:

Dear Team Members,

By now, you have probably seen the 60 Minutes hit piece against our company. This story was exactly what we thought it would be – a regurgitation of old news, full of inaccuracies, half-truths, and a primary “expert” witness who has never seen the inside of our operation, and who is currently paid as a witness to testify critically against Allegiant in a pending court case. Not surprisingly, 60 Minutes failed to disclose this fact – which calls into credibility the entire story.

First, know this: We are extremely proud of all of you. Because of your efforts, Allegiant has become a leader in operational reliability. See the DOT statistic page at:
https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/dot2518.

In their own narcissistic way, 60 Minutes had the audacity to take credit for your hard work – stating that since they have decided to run this story, our operation has improved. You and I know this to be demonstrably false. Our operation has improved – and continues to improve every day – thanks to you and your efforts – not to 60 Minutes.

You may also have seen Dan Wells’ offensive and defamatory comments during the 60 Minutes segment. These comments have no basis in reality, which isn’t surprising considering Mr. Wells has never piloted one of our planes or seen the inside of our operation. What is astonishing is that Mr. Wells would insinuate our maintenance technicians, (who are also represented by the IBT) would ever ask a pilot to violate company procedures, or worse, FAA regulations.

Suffice it to say, the 60 Minutes story had numerous inaccuracies. You, our team members, and our customers know better. They continue to fly us because they trust you – our hard working, professional team members – to move them safely from point to point every day. Safety is never done. As I have said before, we operate at the highest levels of safety. Allegiant participates in all seven of the FAA’s voluntary safety programs. The FAA continues to oversee our operation, as they do all airlines, and in their most recent CHEP audit, found no regulatory or systemic deficiencies. Furthermore, the FAA, known worldwide as the gold standard for aviation safety, has reached unprecedented levels of safety in recent years, which again calls into question the entire premise of the 60 Minutes story.

You can see the FAA response to 60 Minutes at https://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsid=90084.

Thank you for all your hard work. Allegiant doesn’t run without each of you doing your part. We will continue push back against biased media outlets and uninformed witnesses who know next to nothing about our operation. Thank you for your support and encouragement. You are the best part about this company. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns. There will be more from us in the coming days.

Maury

P.S. – Below is the start of a fact sheet we have put together concerning a number of the inaccuracies from this miserable show! There will be more.

ALLEGIANT FACTS
· “Expert” John Goglia
o He hasn’t served in any capacity with the NTSB in almost 15 years.
o He has no direct knowledge of the Allegiant operation. He has never worked for the airline, has never inspected an Allegiant plane, and has never seen the Allegiant mechanic operation.
o Most egregiously, Goglia is a paid expert witness for a terminated employee who is presently suing the company.
o That terminated employee’s attorneys offered that this story might go away in exchange for a settlement of millions of dollars.
o Neither Goglia nor any other “expert” cited in the story has any insight into the safety culture at Allegiant, which is the most vital aspect of any airline and is at the core of Allegiant’s operations.
· Declining to be on camera
o 60 Minutes states Allegiant refused to provide someone on camera. This is untrue. CEO Maury Gallagher was unable to appear due to scheduling conflicts and concerns regarding pending litigation with the terminated employee referenced in the story. Based on the specific questions that 60 Minutes asked, Allegiant offered conversations with several subject matter experts from the company, but 60 Minutes declined. 60 Minutes spent almost a year preparing their story. They only contacted us in the past few weeks. Moreover, they were not will to send someone to our office to learn about our business. Clearly they had their narrative done and were not interested in hearing the other side of the story.

· Our most recent FAA CHEP audit found no regulatory or systemic issues, the full summary can be accessed here: https://www.dropbox.com/…/July%2018th%2C%202016%20-%20Lette…
· The Department of Transportation’s Q1 2018 report shows Allegiant has the second-fewest cancellations of any airline, second only to Hawaiian Airlines. The report can be accessed here: https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/dot2518
· The FAA has issued its own response to the 60 Minutes story, which can be found here: https://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=90084
· MD 80s are “antiquated aircraft”
o As of October 2017, 340 MD-80s were still in service in the world and only 31 of those are with Allegiant.
o Delta has 106 MD-80s, and American Airlines has 45. Allegiant will have moved its entire fleet to Airbus by the end of 2018.
60 Minutes erroneously reported that we push to “fly our planes as often as possible.” This is demonstrably false – Allegiant has the lowest utilization rate in the industry.

1 comment:

  1. I don't fly much, but after reading this I would fly Allegiant.

    ReplyDelete