Allegiant Air grounds half of its MD-80 fleet for emergency slide inspections

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) yesterday (September 20) grounded upwards of 30 McDonnell Douglas MD-80s (DC-9-80s). The cancellation of flights was due to an inspection of the emergency chutes of its 52 MD-80s.

Allegiant issued this statement:

Allegiant announces it has discovered a compliance issue which will require immediate re-inspection of many slides in its MD-80 fleet. The Company has already begun the re-inspections and expects to complete the process by the end of September. MD-80 aircraft will be placed back in service as soon as possible after the slides pass re-inspection.  In the meantime, Allegiant will take as many as 30 MD-80s out of service and delay, reschedule or cancel a number of flights over the next several days.

“We apologize for the disruption to our passengers and ask that they please remain patient as we work to correct the issue, reschedule affected flights and accommodate any passengers impacted,” said Andrew Levy, Allegiant Travel Company President. “Allegiant is committed, above all else, to the safety of our passengers and crew, and we are dedicated to working around-the-clock to ensure that all of our fleet meets the highest standards.”

At this time, it is unknown how long the disruption in flight schedule will last.

The company has secured sub-service on seven aircraft from other carriers to assist in operating its Sunday and Monday flight schedule and expects to have 22 MD-80 aircraft in service by Saturday. Allegiant expects delays and reschedules to continue, but is working around-the-clock to re-accommodate and update passengers.

During a thorough incident review earlier this week, Allegiant maintenance became aware of a discrepancy in its slide maintenance schedule. In 2007, the original manufacturer recommendation for slide maintenance schedule changed from once every three years to once a year for slides older than 15 years. Allegiant discovered that many of the slides had not been inspected within the last year and did not comply with this recommendation. This prompted Allegiant to proactively remove aircraft from service until all slides could be brought into compliance. To inspect and overhaul the slides, the slides must be removed and sent to a regulated inspection and maintenance facility.

Allegiant teams are working to accommodate all affected passengers and will offer the following compensation:

  • Flights delayed less than four hours: $100 voucher for future travel
  • Flights delayed 4-6 hours: $150 off voucher for future travel
  • Flights delayed 6 or more hours: $200 voucher for future travel
  • Reschedule flights: Full refund and $200 voucher for future travel

For passengers delayed overnight, hotel accommodations and meals will be provided. For travel and compensation questions, please call Allegiant Customer Care at 702-505-8888

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/ Officially designed as a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83), N417NV (msn 53347) prepares to depart from Long Beach.

Allegiant Air: AG Slide Show