Airline Blames Feds for Grounded Planes

Safety guidelines unclear and unfair, company says
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2008 3:03 PM CDT
Airline passengers wait in line at an American Airlines Terminal hoping to reschedule canceled flights in this April 9 file photo.   (AP Photo/Frances Roberts)
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(Newser) – American Airlines is tired of taking the heat for 2,000 flight cancellations that travelers endured last week, the New York Times reports. The once-contrite company is now criticizing the FAA, saying its new safety guidelines are unclear and unfair. “We don’t know what the rules are,” said an American technical crew chief. The company says its safety issues were minor deviations from technical standards that had been considered acceptable for years, and could have been fixed gradually.

After critics accused the FAA of being too cozy with the industry in the Southwest scandal, it has taken a harder line, demanding immediate fixes instead of giving airlines time. A chief American exec said he had negotiated a one-week grace period when the new FAA timeline kicked in: “All of a sudden I woke up and all my airplanes were on the ground.”