Is FAA to blame for canceled flights?

Dan Grech Apr 9, 2008


Scott Jagow: Flying just isn’t fun anymore. Fares are higher. Food’s not included.
There’s never an empty seat. And now, planes aren’t even taking off. American says it’ll cancel more flights today to reinspect wiring. It called off 500 of them yesterday. Other airlines have been cancelling flights too.
What is going on here? Dan Grech looked into it.

Dan Grech: Wondering if your flight is cancelled? Just call American’s 24-7 Worldwide reservation line.

Telephone Recording: Thanks for calling American airlines. All of our representatives are busy at this time. If you need to speak to someone, please try your call later. [Busy signal].

But airline consultant Darryl Jenkins says instead of blaming American Airlines, look to the government.

Darryl Jenkins: I think it’s official now that the FAA, is really way off its rocker.

He says the MD-80s are being grounded to comply with technical FAA regulations — not because of safety.

Jenkins: This could have been done during overnights. It could have been done methodically over a couple of weeks. Without inconveniencing anyone.

Jenkins says American can earn up to $20,000 in revenue on each flight. The cancellations come at time when the cost of jet fuel has airlines counting every penny. American reports its first quarter earnings on Monday.

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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