Midwest Airlines flies the Milwaukee Brewers on their planes through a “charter service” says the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, but the Brewers weren’t grounded like the over 100,000 other passengers who were booked on MD-80s.
What’s the surest way to save money on rising fuel prices? Don’t use it! MSNBC has gathered pilot complaints from a database NASA maintains for the FAA, and they show that airlines are challenging pilots’ refueling decisions, urging them to carry only the minimum fuel required by FAA regulations in…
There’s evidence that Continental Airlines might be engaged in some shady manipulation of air traffic controllers by creating “fuel emergencies” in order to skip ahead of other airlines and land quicker at Newark, says the Wall Street Journal. So-called “fuel emergencies” aren’t as scary as they sound– planes that are getting close to the minimum amount of fuel required to remain in the air can call into the tower and get “expedited handling,” and skip the line. There’s no real danger to passengers.
The AP is reporting that four Southwest passengers have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Southwest broke its contract with passengers by skipping important safety inspections… over a period of six years.
American Airlines has canceled 570 more flights today, upping their total number of cancelled flights (this week) to A BAZILLIONTY. (Ok, 3,000.)
The trouble continues at American Airlines! They’ve cancelled 933 more flights today. This raises the total number of flights canceled this week to 2,500, as the airline struggles to perform a backlog of neglected safety inspections on its MD-80 aircraft.
Delta will announce sometime today whether or not it will ground more of its planes to perform additional inspections, reports CNN. Yesterday, while American Airlines was grounding 200 of its planes for safety inspections, Delta also canceled an unnamed number of flights.
FAA orders more inspections of potentially sketchy older “Boeing 737 jetliners after numerous reports of fuel leaks caused by a potentially faulty bolt,” says the Associated Press. [AP]
The FAA says that Southwest Airlines has grounded at least 42 planes for “possible structural damage,” says the Dallas Morning News. The announcement comes after the FAA proposed record-breaking fines after an investigation uncovered that Southwest may have kept 46 planes flying even though they required safety inspections for fuselage damage.
Dear Rapid Rewards Member:
Yesterday the FAA sought $10.2 million in civil damages from Southwest Airlines for neglecting to inspect the fuselages of 46 of its planes.
Terrible news for anyone afraid of flying: the FAA is reporting that the newest passenger planes are held together with “substandard” parts. The oversight at several supplier factories was so shoddy that workers were caught using rulers made of scotch-tape and paper.
BusinessWeek has an article that shines some light on a conflict of interest between the airlines and the FAA safety inspectors. It’s the inspector’s job to make sure the airlines are operating safely—but inspectors who blow the whistle may face pressure from the airlines and retaliation from the FAA’s upper management
The inspectors are the on-the-ground cops who ensure that engines fire up properly, that the wing flaps function, and that all of the other complex machinery in an aircraft is in good working order. They have broad discretion to halt and delay flights–power that often rankles the thinly stretched, financially strapped carriers. When an inspector launches a formal investigation into an apparent safety violation at a passenger airline, something that happened more than 200 times last year, it often triggers costly repairs. And when the bill exceeds $50,000, the FAA must issue a press release alerting the world to the problem.
Fed up with a change in flight patterns that made them sleep in bed at night with earplugs, one Philly couple decided to paint “FUCK YOU FAA. NO FLY ZONE” and a symbol for “no planes” on the top of their roof. Note: in real life, it says “fuck” but the newspaper photoshopped it to just say “FU.” Homeowner Michael Hall said they had tried to lodge complaints with the FAA noise-complaint hotline over 20 times, but whenever they called, an answering machines would apologize for not being able to take their message as the mailbox was full.
An argument can be made that the irresponsibly overworked New York City airports are causing a bottleneck in air travel that can be felt system-wide. The blame for the area’s poor performance gets passed around between the FAA, the airlines, the airports themselves, the weather and God.
“There is a high risk of a catastrophic runway collision occurring in the United States,” Congress today concluded. [AP]