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Updated Sep 20, 2013 - 10:23 am

Allegiant delays flights to inspect aircraft slides

LAS VEGAS — Allegiant Airlines took more than half of its fleet of MD-80
aircraft out of service Friday to inspect emergency slides, four days after
passengers and crew members deployed the devices to escape to the tarmac when
smoke was reported on an Allegiant plane in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co., parent company of the airline, issued a
statement saying Friday’s inspections were linked to an unspecified “compliance
issue” found during a follow-up review of Monday’s evacuation at McCarran
International Airport.

“All of the slides on the aircraft involved in the evacuation Monday were
up-to-date and compliant,” company spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler said in an
email. “However, that event triggered a maintenance review which found issues
with other slides in our fleet.”

No injuries were reported among the 144 passengers and six crew members who
used slides to evacuate an Allegiant aircraft before takeoff for Peoria, Ill.
The inspection action covers 30 of the airline’s 52 MD-80s.

Allegiant serves about 100 mostly small cities and vacation destinations
including Orlando, Fla., Las Vegas and the Phoenix area. It carried nearly 2.3
passengers to McCarran airport in 2012.

In the statement, company President Andrew Levy apologized for disruption to
travelers and promised around-the-clock work to ensure aircraft safety. The
airline said delays, rescheduling and cancelations were expected during the next
several days, and that inspections were expected to be completed by the end of

FAA official Ian Gregor in Hawthorne, Calif., said the agency was checking
Allegiant’s compliance with door slide inspection requirements.

McCarran spokesman Chris Jones reported little disruption Friday at the Las
Vegas airport, and said staff was monitoring travelers to ensure orderly lines
if necessary. He said it was up to Allegiant to accommodate travelers whose Sin
City vacations may be extended.

Allegiant announced last month that it was adding service to 10 airports
including two near New York City.

Shares in Allegiant Travel slipped $3.03 on Friday, to $99.96 in midday


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