The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

September 24, 2013

Allegiant again canceling flights to check MD-80s

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Allegiant Air told passengers that 12 flights were canceled Monday while it continues to overhaul emergency slides on its fleet of MD-80 aircraft.

The cancelations involved six routes, and the Las Vegas-based airline was contacting affected passengers by email and telephone to tell them their flights would be made up today, Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler said.

Flights were canceled between McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Bentonville, Ark.; Quad Cities International Airport in Moline, Ill.; Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Shreveport Regional Airport in Louisiana.

Also canceled were flights between Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and Wichita Mid-Continent Airport in Kansas and between St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport in Florida and Tri-Cities Regional Airport in Blountville, Tenn.

Company officials didn’t immediately respond to questions about how many flights the airline was operating Monday or how many aircraft were in use.

Allegiant began overhauling slides on its 52 MD-80 aircraft last week, following the emergency evacuation of a Sept. 16 Allegiant flight in Las Vegas. The inflatable chutes worked properly, and no one among the 144 passengers and six crew members was hurt.

The company ordered a fleetwide grounding after administrators learned that maintenance hadn’t complied with a manufacturer’s recommendation, updated in 2007, to overhaul slide assemblies every year. Allegiant had been maintaining the MD-80 slides on an original three-year maintenance interval.

Airline officials said affected passengers would get vouchers for future Allegiant travel, and hotel rooms if they were stranded overnight.

Company share prices on Monday were down $1.50 in midday trading at $96.41.

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