Allegiant Airlines Plans To Inspect All Planes After Yet Another Flight Disturbance

Last month, federal regulators announced they had stepped up scrutiny of budget carrier Allegiant Airlines after a string of in-flight disturbances and accusations from a pilot’s union of poor safety standards. Now, after yet another issue, the airline says it plans to inspect its entire fleet.

ABC 7 News in Chicago reports that the Las Vegas-based airline announced it would inspect all planes after a flight headed to Illinois experienced trouble during takeoff.

As the flight, traveling from Las Vegas to Peoria, was speeding down the runway, the nose lifted too soon.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the incident, the jet began to lift off from the runway before it was moving fast enough for a normal takeoff, and the front of the plane stayed up even as a pilot adjusted the controls in a way that should have kept the nosewheel on the runway.

Bloomberg reports that pilots abruptly halted the takeoff while the plane was traveling at about 138 miles per hour. The airline blamed a fault in the elevator – the part of the tail that helps an aircraft climb or descend.

Allegiant’s decision to inspect all of its planes comes after the airline has faced several issues in recent months.

Just last month, a flight carrying 150 passengers declared an emergency in order to land at a closed airport because it was running dangerously low on fuel.

To make matters worse, the airline had been informed that the airport was closed to passenger jets prior to takeoff and the company’s executives – Greg Baden, its vice president of operations, and Michael Wuerger, director of flight safety – were the ones manning the aircraft.

The July 23 incident involved a plane flying from Las Vegas to the Fargo, ND, airport, which was closed for the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels aerobatic jets to practice. The airline says the flight was allowed to take off because dispatchers believed the FAA notice meant the airport was still open for passenger airlines.

Other recent issues included a plane diverting because of a wasp’s nest on a sensor and passengers using emergency exits to climb on a jet’s wing after landing when a fuel leak sent fumes into the cabin.

At the time the FAA announced its increased scrutiny, a spokesperson for Allegiant said that the airline generally has a high number of diversions – although, he didn’t specify a number – because it doesn’t have mechanics in most cities it services.

“That presents a unique challenge when it comes to customer service, but if anything, it’s an example of our focus on safety,” he said.

Allegiant To Inspect Planes After Flight To Peoria Aborts Takeoff [ABC 7 News]