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Suggestion: Impacted by the American Airline (AA) grounding

Colo Spgs
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for Cozumel
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Suggestion: Impacted by the American Airline (AA) grounding

The recent grounding of American Airline MD-80 series aircraft has negatively impacted the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of people. Some of them were going on vacations that cost thousands of dollars.

In my opinion, several issues in this matter appear questionable. The FAA Airworthiness Directive (AD) that is at the center of the inspections appears to be AD 2006-15-15, available here: http://tinyurl.com/6bzjhp [Docket No. 2001-NM-387-AD; Amendment 39-14696; AD 2006-15-15] RIN 2120-AA64, Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model DC-9-81 (MD-81), DC-9-82 (MD-82), DC-9-83 (MD-83), DC-9-87 (MD-87), and MD-88 Airplanes

The effective date was 5 September 2006 and the airlines impacted had eighteen (18) months from the effective date to complete the AD required actions. Supposedly American Airlines performed the inspections (or some of them) in another aircraft grounding in late March 2008.

Related points to consider as this is evaluated are the reported “coziness” between the FAA and Southwest Airlines as it relates to aircraft inspections and the recent Congressional hearings that focused on that relationship.

Given that the airlines were given 18 months to comply with the AD, it apparently was not an urgent safety issue. A real safety issue would probably generate an Emergency AD. In several reports available on the internet, the point is made that “These inspections -- based on FAA audits -- are related to detailed, technical compliance issues and not safety-of-flight issues.” Source: http://tinyurl.com/5fzwce

My opinion is that people who were impacted by this should contact their US Senator and Congressperson and demand that this issue be investigated fully. If there was no pressing safety concern, why did all the aircraft have to be grounded? They should have been inspected during the 18 month period. Why was that not supervised by the FAA and American Airlines and completed well before now?

Why didn’t the FAA provide relief from rigid compliance rules to prevent the massive disruption to the travel/vacation plans of so many people?

Did the FAA use this as a public relations stunt to counter negative publicity from the Southwest Airlines incident.

This needs to receive the in-depth investigation to identify where the system failed to prevent another incident like it.

Additionally, people impacted need proper compensation. Whether that is by American Airlines, the FAA, or both I don’t know. Maybe Congress should make that determination. But in the meantime, travelers should look at the American Airline website for the link that discusses this issue and determine if they want to seek compensation. If they do, I would aim high.

www.aa.com/aa/pubcontent/en_US/urls/md80.jsp

Ft. Worth
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1. Re: Suggestion: Impacted by the American Airline (AA) grounding

I agree with the passengers deserving compensation, and I believe they did receive $500 vouchers.

As far as the FAA, I believe the Southwest incident was a wake up call. I would want the government entity overseeing air safety to consider even the most minor safety issue to be urgent. I would expect more grounding of flights with various airlines to occur in the near future.

Broken Arrow...
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2. Re: Suggestion: Impacted by the American Airline (AA) grounding

I agree CO pilot, especially with this point:

"Did the FAA use this as a public relations stunt to counter negative publicity from the Southwest Airlines incident."

And they did so with no thought, or caring about, the disruption in lives that their actions would have an effect on. It's just another example of a bureaucracy gone unbridled, and everyone should contact their elected representatives to protest. Otherwise it will not stop with AA. If enough voices are heard, even the nimrods in Washington will listen. Maybe.

How many trips to Cozumel were affected? My guess is quite a few. And if that happened to me a $500 voucher wouldn't cut it as compensation.

Ft. Worth
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3. Re: Suggestion: Impacted by the American Airline (AA) grounding

I agree that $500 is not sufficient in this case. My wife received a $400 voucher for a 6 hour delay on United, and some of these people have been grounded for several days.

Evidently many people have already complained to their lawmakers. Nicholas Sabatini, the FAA's associate administrator for safety appeared before a senate subcommittee yesterday. Several members of the senate suggested that the cancellations would not have occurred if the agency had been tougher in the past. Senator Olympie Snowe of Maine said "It's clear that passenger safety was put at risk. Clearly this is a crisis."

The ultimate goal of the safety directive is to prevent chafing of wire casings, which could result in a loss of power to some aircraft systems or in sparks that could cause a fire or explosion.

American Airlines CEO Gerard Arpey even praised the FAA, saying they were just doing their job. As predicted, several other airlines including Midwest, Alaska Air, and Delta have canceled flights for similar inspections.

Cozumel, Mexico
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4. Re: Suggestion: Impacted by the American Airline (AA) grounding

You can always blame the government for most things that happen. American happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time--and likely their bad judgement in relying so heavily on the aging MD80 as the backbone of their fleet , has come back to haunt them.

May just be the tip of the iceberg for AA. They also have labor problems with the pilots and flight attendents to deal with. But, as I posted elsewhere, the executives are still demanding their millions in bonuses--obviously much deserved for running such a well run operation, ha ha.

5. Re: Suggestion: Impacted by the American Airline (AA) grounding

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