Monday, March 28, 2016

More problems for Allegiant Airlines: 18 flights cancelled, delayed, or diverted this weekend

SANFORD, Fla. - Allegiant Airlines said Monday in a statement to News 6 that the majority of the issues with flights to Orlando this past weekend were due to "operational constraints," not mechanical issues.

Ten flights were diverted Saturday night from Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Orlando International Airport (MCO) "due to an issue with runway lights at SFB," the Allegiant on-call media relations team wrote in an email.

SFB CEO Diane Crews told News 6 that an air traffic controller put the landing system out of service when a pilot complained it was functioning intermittently. It was repaired by noon Sunday, said Crews, but until then, overnight, controllers at Orlando Center directed Allegiant planes to land at MCO instead of SFB's other runway where the landing system was functioning properly.

Four other Allegiant flights were delayed or rescheduled this weekend "due to a lack of available crews" and four more because of a "maintenance issue."

"I would just like to know are they taking care of it, and what procedures," said Angelica Garcia, after she landed at SFB from South Bend. "And are we going to be safe on those planes."

Allegiant, known for its cheap tickets and service to smaller cities, said it is a safe airline.

"Safety is our number one priority every day, and we continue to have one of the best safety records of any passenger airline in the world," the media relations team wrote in a statement to News 6. "Our robust maintenance program goes above and beyond manufacturer and FAA recommendations and guidelines."

Allegiant is SFB's primary carrier. CEO Diane Crews said she rarely gets a complaint and cannot go anywhere without people telling her how much they love Allegiant.

But News 6 has reported on a history of complaints and mechanical problems.

Last week an Allegiant flight to Grand Rapids from SFB was rescheduled four times when three different planes had mechanical problems and were forced to turn back.

In February, News 6 reporter Mike DeForest uncovered three mechanical issues that month and three emergency landings during a three-day period in December.

Two years ago, the Teamsters Union began compiling a list detailing dozens of Allegiant Air flights that had to return to the airport or divert to another city due to mechanical issues.

"We find it disconcerting that an airline with such a small fleet has experienced such a large number of schedule disruptions due to mechanical issues," the union said last year, blaming a lack of time, spare parts, and training.

"Allegiant, like most commercial carriers, is in nearly daily contact with FAA representatives," said Allegiant media relations. "The FAA oversees and approves the creation of all training materials, programs and certifications for pilots, flight attendants and maintenance personnel, as well as nearly every procedure, manual, process or operation related to flying and maintaining an aircraft."

Allegiant said it offered food vouchers, hotel accommodations, and $100 vouchers to affected passengers this past weekend. Passengers who chose not to fly Allegiant were given partial refunds.

Allegiant media relations provided to News 6 this list of affected flights:

1. Flight 632 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Huntington Tri-State Airport (HTS) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a maintenance issue. The flight operated as flight 5632 on March 27, 2016 and departed SFB at 3:37 p.m. local time with an estimated arrival time of 5:17 p.m. local time in HTS.

2. Flight 633 with scheduled service from Huntington Tri-State Airport (HTS) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a maintenance issue. The flight will operate as flight 5633 on March 27, 2016 with an estimated departure time of 5:39 p.m. local time in HTS.

3. Flight 772 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a maintenance issue. The flight operated as flight 5772 on March 27, 2016 and departed SFB at 2:30 p.m. local time with an estimated arrival time of 4:29 p.m. local time in FWA.

4. Flight 773 with scheduled service from Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a maintenance issue. The flight will operate as flight 5773 on March 27, 2016 with an estimated departure time of 5:28 p.m. local time in FWA.

5. Flight 1200 with scheduled service from Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges drove crew time outs and availability. The flight operated as flight 5200 on March 27, 2016 and departed AVL at 12:11 p.m. local time and arrived at 1:46 p.m. local time in SFB.

6. Flight 1201 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges drove crew time outs and availability. The flight operated as flight 5201 on March 27, 2016 and departed SFB at 10:00 a.m. local time and arrived at 11:19 a.m. local time in AVL.

7. Flight 1300 with scheduled service from Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges drove crew time out and availability. The flight operated as flight 5300 on March 27, 2017 and departed CVG at 3:20 p.m. local time with an estimated arrival time of 5:24 p.m. in SFB.

8. Flight 1301 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges drove crew time outs and availability. The flight operated as flight 5301 on March 27, 2016 and departed SFB at 12:23 p.m. local time and arrived at 2:15 p.m. local time in CVG.

9. Flight 604 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time out and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5604 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 7:20 a.m. local time in SFB.

10. Flight 605 with scheduled service from Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5605 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 9:21 a.m. local time in BMI.

11. Flight 786 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5786 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 1:20 p.m. local time in SFB.

12. Flight 787 with scheduled service from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5787 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 12:45 p.m. local time in XNA.

13. Flight 756 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5756 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 7:56 a.m. local time in SFB.

14. Flight 757 with scheduled service from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5757 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 9:58 a.m. local time in AUS.

15 .Flight 894 with scheduled service from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) to Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5894 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 2:20 p.m. local time in PIE.

16 .Flight 895 with scheduled service from Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG) to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5895 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 5:36 p.m. local time in IAG.

17. Flight 1602 with scheduled service from Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) to Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5602 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 3:00 p.m. local time in PGD.

18. Flight 1603 with scheduled service from Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) to Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5603 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 5:14 p.m. local time in CAK.

Story and video:  http://www.clickorlando.com

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