photo by Kevin BoydstonAmerican Airlines yesterday announced that it was canceling 300 flights on Wednesday in order to inspect wiring covers in its 300-strong MD-80 fleet, with an American spokesperson calling the move an "abundance of caution" by the airline. Later in the day, Delta also said that it would voluntarily reinspect 117 of its MD-88s as well as 16 MD-90s. Delta said that as of last night, it had not found any problems, but the airline was nonetheless forced to cancel about 325 flights yesterday, with a few more following today.
Other airlines flying the MD-80 also reviewed their fleets as well: Allegiant Air said that it reviewed its 35 MD-80s without needed to cancel flights; a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines said that its 10-strong fleet of MD-80s operated "normally".
The checks come at a time when airlines are scrambling to comply with FAA audits and safety directives. Earlier in the month, the agency fined Southwest Airlines $10.2 million for flying 46 of its Boeing 737s without proper safety checks. American Eagle grounded 25 CRJs last week in order to double-check inspection papers on the hydraulic systems and rudders.