Allegiant Air, which serves The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, on Friday warned that some of its flights this weekend may be cancelled or rescheduled as it inspects emergency slides on its MD-80 aircraft fleet.
Allegiant’s flights to and from Phoenix-Mesa on Friday were not affected. The airline does not provide service to Cedar Rapids on Saturday.
Allegiant’s service to Cedar Rapids on Sunday is not expected to be affected.
During the last week, Allegiant said it became aware that many of the slides on the 166-passenger MD-80s had not been inpected in the last year. The slide manufacturer, Zodiac Aerospace, in 2007 changed the recommended inspections from once every three years to once a year for slides older than 15 years.
Brian Davis of Allegiant said the airline’s maintenance department had not updated its MD-80 information to recognize the change. The recommendations are backed by Boeing, which acquired McDonnell Douglas, the manufacturer of the MD-80.
Davis said the Las Vegas-based airline has verified a number of slides are in compliance and has returned 18 aircraft into service, leaving as many as 32 MD-80s out of service. To inspect and overhaul the slides, the devices must be removed and sent to a regulated inspection and maintenance facility.
No slides have been found to be defective in the inspections.
The slides require three days for intense inspection and two days for ground shipping to and from the repair facility. Davis said Allegiant expects to complete the inspections by the end of the month.
Davis said Allegiant has contacted all affected travelers directly by email and telephone. Customers also can sign up for individual flight alerts at https://www2.allegiantair.com/flight-status or call (702) 505-8888.
Allegiant provides direct flights from Cedar Rapids to Orlando-Sanford, Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg, Las Vegas and Phoenix-Mesa. It plans to add twice weekly non-stop jet service in December to Punta Gorda, Fla.