Allegiant Air’s (ALGT) safety and maintenance records came under scrutiny in a double-length “60 Minutes” segment Sunday.
The program was a result of a seven-month investigation that found about 100 serious incidents of mechanical issues in the carrier’s planes. “60 Minutes” quoted air safety experts, passengers and a former employee and relied on public documents for the piece.
They detailed incidents like cabin pressure loss, unscheduled landings, aborted takeoffs and emergency descents. One case involved a former pilot who was fired after making an emergency landing after smoke filled the cabin.
Allegiant, which is based in Las Vegas, did not participate in the program, but it issued a statement afterward. An internal memo to employees, confirmed by Allegiant, said that the company is “prepared to fight back against ’60 Minutes.’” Allegiant is also responding to Twitter posts by asking for private messages to “share our concerns about the story.” (See also: Report: Airlines are Providing Better Service Lately.)
Allegiant also posted a statement dismissing the incidents described in the show as “years old” and as having occurred before the company’s latest FAA audit. The Tampa Bay Times produced a similar expose about Allegiant in 2016. “60 Minutes” is owned by CBS (CBS), and has a significantly larger audience of about 12 million viewers per week, or about 4% of the U.S. population.
Allegiant is known as a low-cost airline. Shares were up 28.4% for the year, but were poised for a roughly 5% drop in Monday’s session.