Are the FAA's Wires Crossed?

April 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Safety inspections ordered by the F.A.A. for American Airlines have caused cancellations for the fourth day in a row.Things are looking up with 50 per cent of American Ailrines MD80 jets getting off the ground this morning. Still, the nation's largest carrier canceled nearly 600 flights on Friday bringing the total number of cancellations this week to more than 3,000.

Safety inspections are complete on 226 of its 300 MD80 jets. They are all expected to be back in service by Saturday night.

"Why would they come out with a plan to ground all the planes at one time?" asked Sanjay Amin, a stranded passenger.

Some say all the inconvenience has less to do with the bundling of wires in the landing gear and more to do with the F.A.A. getting its wires crossed.

Aviation consultant John Nance says all of the planes did not have to be grounded at once because there was no evidence of an immediate threat. "What we have here is an outrageous overreaction or irrefutable proof that the F.A.A. is ineffective in doing their job," said Nance.

Delta, Midwest, and Alaska Air also initially canceled about a dozen flights to reexamine some of their jets. And now the concern is that other carriers could be grounded as the F.A.A. is continues its audit of all U.S. airlines.


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