• Florida senator wants investigation into FAA's handling of Allegiant Air's safety issues

    By: Jenna Bourne , Action News Jax


    RELATED: Investigation uncovers safety issues at Allegiant Airlines

    Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for an investigation into how the Federal Aviation Administration handles Allegiant Air’s safety issues.

    Nelson is the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which oversees airlines.

    On Sunday, a "60 Minutes" investigation exposed serious safety concerns about the bargain airline.

    The analysis of public records on "60 Minutes" revealed that Allegiant Air was nearly three and a half times more likely to have a midair breakdown than Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Spirit Airlines or JetBlue.

    Allegiant Air operates flights to eight cities out of Jacksonville International Airport.

    Two new routes were just announced earlier this month.

    “It’s my worst fear and I wouldn’t be doing business with that company,” said JIA traveler Barbara Duhaney.

    RELATED: Airline to bring new routes to Jacksonville June 2018 

    In 2016, Action News Jax reported on 127 FAA investigations into safety issues on Allegiant Air flights out of Florida since 2005.

    The "60 Minutes" investigation found similar issues nationwide: There were 60 unscheduled landings and 46 in-flight emergencies on Allegiant Air planes between January 2016 and October 2017.

    Allegiant Air Vice President of Operations Eric Gunst fired back at "60 Minutes" on Monday.
    Gunst called program's report a “false narrative” and accused CBS of “cherry-picking interviews and ignoring publicly-available facts.” 

    “If it’s truly based on price related to safety, oh, my God, that’s embarrassing,” JIA traveler David Wiemiller said.

    Wiemiller said he has flown Allegiant Air multiple times.

    He said he and his relatives in the Midwest often don’t have a choice; Allegiant is one of the only options available. 

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