Wings Magazine

News
American Airlines gets FAA clearance to return all grounded jets to service

April 12, 2008, Dallas, TX - American Airlines on Saturday received clearance from federal aviation officials to return all of its 300 grounded jets to service, an airline spokesman said.


April 14, 2008
By Terry Wallace

April 12, 2008, Dallas, TX – American Airlines on Saturday received clearance from
federal aviation officials to return all of its 300 grounded jets to
service, an airline spokesman said.

After 200 cancellations Saturday morning, Fort Worth-based
American was running a full schedule by the afternoon with no
cancellations, said spokesman Charley Wilson.

Starting Tuesday, the largest U.S. airline cancelled nearly 3,300
flights, as it grounded 300 MD-80 jets to wrap wiring bundles to
meet federal safety standards and to prevent fires.

The cancellations stranded hundreds of thousands of people during
the week.

Advertisment

American said 226 of its MD-80s were back in service by Friday
morning. By noon on Saturday, the airline had received clearance to
return all the remaining grounded jets to service, Wilson said.
The groundings had come as a surprise.

American officials said they thought they had the needed repair
work completed two weeks ago when it scrubbed more than 400 flights,
but the Federal Aviation Administration said the wiring still was
not secured and stowed properly in wheel wells.

Gerard Arpey, chairman and chief executive of American parent AMR
Corp., said the costs of the cancellations to American will run into
the tens of millions of dollars.

That includes vouchers to reimburse stranded customers, overtime
for maintenance crews and lost revenue. An analyst with Standard &
Poor's estimated it could easily top $30 million.

Arpey said that neither American's mechanics nor the FAA were to
blame for the groundings, and he said he took responsibility for the
cancellations.

He said the company would hire a consultant to help it comply
with FAA safety rules in the future.

American's entire fleet averages 15 years in age, making it the
second oldest in the industry behind Northwest Airlines, according
to regulatory filings by the airlines.

Arpey said Thursday that American may accelerate the replacement
of its MD-80s, but only because newer planes get better mileage, an
important consideration with fuel at record prices.

The CEO said the recent groundings weren't a factor in the
decision to replace MD-80s.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS