American Airlines is canceling several hundred flights today to conduct additional inspections of its MD-80 fleet 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. These inspections -- based on FAA audits -- are related to detailed, technical compliance issues and not safety-of-flight issues.
"We've been working in good faith to ensure that we are in complete compliance with this airworthiness directive," said Gerard Arpey, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines. "We regret and apologize that we are once again causing inconvenience to our customers, but we will continue to work in good faith until we satisfy all of the technical issues related to this airworthiness directive."
It is not known at this time how many cancellations will result, but it could be as many as 500 today. Additional cancellations are likely tomorrow.
American will re-accommodate customers on other American flights or on flights operated by airlines in the same market. Customers may be automatically notified of flight changes; they should also check AA.com or with their travel agents for flight status.
The FAA raised additional concerns regarding the recent inspection of American's aircraft and the manner in which American followed the engineering change order (ECO) that had been written for the airworthiness directive related to the wiring in the MD-80s wheel wells. Specifically, some areas of concern included the spacing of the ties on the wiring bundle and the direction in which the retention clips and lacing cords were facing.
American has assigned teams of employees that include aviation maintenance technicians, quality assurance inspectors, and engineers to inspect the aircraft and ensure full compliance, as well as to make the necessary adjustments.
Any aircraft that does not completely comply with the detailed technical specifications of installation will be removed from service until all specifications have been met. Aircraft will return to service as they have been inspected and all necessary work completed.
Additionally, American has applied for and received FAA approvals of an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) for this airworthiness directive that has already been applied to the MD-80 fleet of other carriers.
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SOURCE: American Airlines
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