Allegiant Air's COO Resigns Unexpectedly

Jan. 18, 2016
The COO, Steven E. Harfast resigned after working with Allegiant for a little more than a year.

As reported on the Tampa Bay Times, Allegiant Air has announced that the chief operating officer of Allegiant unexpectedly resigned his post at the Las Vegas-based airline effective immediately.

Steven E. Harfst had worked at Allegiant for a little more than a year and had been the most prominent executive at the airline behind its CEO, Maurice Gallagher Jr. Harfst joined the board of directors and became its COO starting Jan. 1, 2015. He was the former COO of IndiGo Airlines based in New Delhi.

Allegiant has not provided a reason for Harfast's departure.

"The company will use this leadership change as an opportunity to refocus on operational needs and areas for improvement," Allegiant said in a statement. "Allegiant is committed to operational excellence and looks forward to continued progress in this area."

Gallagher, Allegiant's chairman and CEO, said, "We thank Steve for his contributions to Allegiant. We look forward to continuing his efforts to strengthen our operation."

Harfst had been an avid defender of Allegiant, which had a number of highly publicized maintenance issues and emergency landings in 2015. He has also had a leading role in negotiations with the airline's pilots union, which has hammered Allegiant's maintenance practices as being unsafe.

At least four Allegiant aircraft flying to or from Pinellas were forced to make emergency landings in the last year, including three in a one-month period during the summer.

Harfst has told reporters that the union is using safety as a ploy to better its negotiating position in talks for a contract.

The departure comes at a time when Allegiant is earning high profits that have been boosted by lower fuel costs. On a percentage basis, the airline at one point late last year was the most profitable airline in the world with a 24 percent profit margin.

An article that was reported on the Tampa Bay Times last week, there were also accusations that were raised by a former Allegiant mechanic—who had said that the airline employed bad maintenance practices at its Sanford operation.

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