Reprinted from tampabay.com. William Levesque.
Allegiant Air closed out 2015 with five emergency landings on flights departing Florida in just one week, capping a difficult year from a public relations standpoint for the airline.
One of the five was a Dec. 26 flight that departed St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport bound for Missouri that declared an emergency for an undisclosed “maintenance issue.”
The other four flights departed Sanford, northeast of Orlando, from Dec. 24 to Dec. 31 and suffered a variety of mechanical issues.
While Allegiant notes it has one of the best safety records in the industry, some industry watchers express concern at the high number of flights diverted for mechanical problems.
“The airline should be very concerned,” said John Goglia, a former airline mechanic who served as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board for more than a decade. “And they have a small fleet. That’s a big issue. It raises all sorts of red flags normally.”.
Here is a breakdown of the five Florida flights, based on information from Allegiant:
• Flight 806 left St. Pete-Clearwater at 1:45 p.m. on Dec. 26 bound for Springfield-Branson National Airport in Missouri but returned due to a “maintenance issue.” The aircraft landed safely at 3:04 p.m. with 133 passengers. Passengers who chose not to take a replacement flight were given full refunds. All passengers received a $150 voucher for future travel with Allegiant.
• Flight 606 left Sanford on Dec. 24 bound for Ohio but diverted to Jacksonville “due to a faulty indicator light.”
• Flight 778 departed Sanford on Dec. 28 bound for Wisconsin. But the flight landed in Fargo, N.D., “due to an issue with deicing equipment.”
• Flight 736 left Sanford on Dec. 30 for Maine but landed in Rhode Island after reports of an “abnormal smell” like smoke in the cabin. A leaking air duct was the source of the smell.
• Flight 760 left Sanford bound for Iowa on Dec. 31 but landed in Chattanooga, Tenn., due to a problem with its right engine.
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