American Airlines and Delta Air Lines both grounded aircraft yesterday (26 March) in order to carry out maintenance reviews, affecting services.
Following inspections by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), American said in a statement that it had to cancel hundreds of domestic flights after inspectors ”raised questions regarding an already accomplished directive” concerning wiring on its MD-80 aircraft.
”We are re-inspecting the MD-80s to make sure the wiring is installed and secured exactly according to the directive,” said an airline statement.
”Because the process can take several hours per aircraft, we have had to cancel 318 flights on domestic routes.”
The carrier said that as of today it had completed inspections on 243 of its 300 MD-80s, and 47 others are currently being worked on.
Delta said it was conducting a ”proactive, voluntary review” of part of its domestic fleet.
”We expect this - which will take place on 117 MD-88 aircraft - to have some impact to the operation. Delta apologises in advance for any inconvenience and will work to proactively contact and re-accommodate any affected customers.”
”It has affected around 3% of operations, but we”re hoping to have the review complete by Saturday,” an airline spokeswoman told ABTN.
Federal aviation inspections of all commercial carriers operating within the US were prompted to ”reconfirm they have complied with all airworthiness directives following one recent failure to comply with one such directive,” noted the acting FAA administrator Robert Sturgell in a statement.
Southwest Airlines hired an outside consultant to review its maintenance programme earlier this month after the FAA initiated an action to fine the carrier an unprecedented $10.2m (£5m) for failing to perform mandatory inspections on 46 of its Boeing 737s - and on six of them it subsequently found fuselage damage.
”While the data tells us flying is safer than ever, prudence dictates we take this additional precaution and conduct a special emphasis review,” said Sturgell.
An initial review will be completed by 28 March, and the full audit finished no later than 30 June said the FAA.
A Continental Airlines spokesman told ABTN it was carrying out inspections on its 737-300 and 737-500 aircraft following a directive issued by the FAA on Monday.
”Our inspection is well underway - we've completed 97 of 105 aircraft - and no problems have been discovered, nor have there been disruptions to schedules,” he said.