This just in…
American Airlines has reportedly grounded all their MD-80 airplanes. The grounding was ordered to give the carrier time to follow up on an airworthiness directive, according to a spokesperson. This is the same sort of thing that got Southwest in a lot of trouble a couple weeks ago.
The action affects 171 flights, according to the report. I was always under the impression that the carrier had a ton of the MD-80s, so if it only affects 171 flights I’m not sure that all of the MD-80s have been grounded, but I also haven’t seen their fleet plan lately. Time to go look in to that.
What worries me is that it sounds like the lack of FAA oversight/enforcement may be more pervasive in the industry. That would be very bad.
UPDATE (9:46a): AA has over 300 MD-82/83 planes in their fleet (~50% of their total fleet), so if it is a complete grounding of the type then there will be many, many more flights cancelled. Or this is just related to a few specific planes. Or the inspection takes almost no time and they can get it done very quickly as the planes cycle through the hubs. Still not enough details to know for sure.
Update (10:21a): I updated the title of the post to reflect the fact that they aren’t grounding the entire fleet. It does seem that they are just cycling through the checks pretty quickly and getting the planes back into the air.
Update (12:16p): It turns out that they “grounded” and inspected all the planes, mostly overnight, and some were taking a bit longer to finish up, hence the few cancelled flights today. My initial conclusions about the FAA oversight are still troubling to me. If the FAA is doing things correctly why are there situations like this??
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