Posts Tagged ‘MD80’

As pointed earlier FAA could have let the Airlines perform the MD80 wiring inspections without grounding any planes. But seems there was a discord between FAA’s regional and Washington DC office, where the former would have allowed AA to fly the schedule, while the DC office said “No”. So, let me understand this, there was no need for groundings, and the passengers did not really have to face the chaos?
From ATWonlone

“AA Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey has said there “wasn’t a safety of flight issue” with the MD-80s and that the carrier “applied for an alternate means of compliance with FAA” that would have allowed it to keep operating its schedule but was “rejected” and forced to ground the aircraft. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that AA’s report to Peters claimed that the carrier had a “handshake agreement” with regional Dallas FAA officials to conduct inspections and make wiring repairs without grounding aircraft but that FAA headquarters abruptly overruled the local officials, forcing it to cancel flights with little notice to passengers.”


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Midday, Saturday April 12th 2008 American Airlines has only 3 MD-80s were awaiting final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. Gerard Arpey, AMR’s and American Airline’s Chief Executive, personally apologized the week of chaos and cancellations.

It seems like FAA’s congressional hearing has caused them to pull the strings around airlines and they seem to have been successful in showing they are no one gets away with a directive violation on their planes.

It does remind me of the boss of this small company where I worked couple of years back. Every time my boss’s boss would find something wrong with him, my boss would turn around and find everything wrong with us 🙂 .

On second thoughts, we all want to fly on safe planes.

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Travel woes continued for American Airlines passengers with the airline canceling 595 flights (or 25% of it’s schedule) today (Friday April 11th 2008).

Please make sure that your flight is not canceled before you leave for the airport!
800-433-7300 (AA’s standard reservation phone number).

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Found here.

From TWU international vice president Dennis Burchette on Grounding of Flights at American Airlines:

I have spent 22 years as a mechanic and quality assurance
inspector at American Airlines and I want to say unequivocally that our
MD-80s are safe. This is more a compliance issue than a safety

Let’s be clear — once the wiring harness was re-routed and then
covered by a protective sleeve, the chances of any safety of flight
issues were minimized. This particular engineering change order first
came to light almost four years ago. Since then there have been
approximately ten revisions!
Since the Airworthiness Directive was
issued there have been at least four revisions.

Hundreds of highly trained FAA award-winning technicians, the best
in the business, with decades of experience, didn’t simply get it
wrong. These changes have been a moving target.

Our members have been working around the clock to get these planes
up in the air as soon as possible. We take our jobs and our
responsibilities seriously. Our goal is to take planes that are safe
and bring them into precise compliance

It makes me wonder, is it really a safety issue or FAA trying to prove themselves after the hearing? I would not like to fly on an unsafe plane, but as I understand all airlines are very stringent on their safety issues (reminds me of all the times I got delays due to maintenance issues). I think experts from Boeing should be contacted and asked, “if this issue is worth grounding the whole fleet and causing chaos across the country?”

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(Pictures from here – Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Wednesday April 9th 2008)

American Airlines has announced that it will cancel 900 more flights today (Thursday, April 10th 2008) for continued MD 80 inspections for the wiring inspections. These cancellations will total to 1,550 already canceled this week. The inspections are supposed to have affected 171,000+ passengers.

The directive that caused it allpdf read here

Call in advance to check for your flights!!!

On AA.com, American Airlines have posted the following –

Reservation Changes Due To Aircraft Inspections
Customers who were scheduled on a flight that was cancelled may request
a full refund or may apply the value of their ticket towards future
travel on American Airlines. Additionally, customers scheduled to
travel on any MD-80 flight from April 8 – 11, even if their flight has
not been cancelled, may rebook without a change fee to any AA flight
with availability in the same cabin as long as their travel begins by
April 17, as shown below:

If you are traveling to, from or through… On the following dates… And your ticket was issued no later than… You may change your reservation to begin travel as late as…
Cities served by MD-80 aircraft April 8-11, 2008 April 8, 2008 April 17, 2008

One ticketed change is allowed, and no change fee will apply.

For assistance, contact our Reservations personnel at
within the United States or Canada. If you are calling
from outside the United States or Canada, please check our Worldwide
Reservations Numbers
page for Reservations contact information.

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(Picture form here, showing the real problem)

Today (Wednesday, April 9th 2008), more than 1000 flights were canceled by American Airlines for continued MD-80 Inspections. The 1000+ cancellations were because as of today morning only some 30 of the 336 MD-80s were back in service. Even if on an average there were 100 passengers on these flights, there are some 100,000 passengers who have had to be re-accommodated. The cancellations might extend to beyond Wednesday!

Gerard Arpey, CEO of American Airlines said “American will do whatever it takes to help affected customers,
including compensating those who stayed overnight somewhere other than
their final destination

At New York’s LaGuardia Airport, passengers were offered free donuts, coffee and orange juice.

Makes me wonder, if this is the end or there is a lot more to come, since a lot of American Airlines have aging fleets and hence might have more “earlier-overlooked” safety issues?

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American Airlines announced that it is canceling as many as 500 flights today (Tuesday, April 8th 2008) to re-inspect (same inspections as done earlier) its MD-80 aircrafts.

Reason as Reported
Allied Pilots Association said that – “the Federal
Aviation Administration randomly inspected 10 MD-80s on Monday to make
sure the jets had been properly inspected and modified. Of the 10, nine
did not pass the audit, the union said.
” It seems like the inspections done earlier were not done satisfactorily.

Problem –
From a news release that the
inspections are “to ensure precise and complete compliance with the
Federal Aviation Administration’s airworthiness directive related to
the bundling of wires in the aircraft’s wheel wells
I wonder, is this inspection so important that it cannot be done at the end of day?

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