photo by caribbOnly a few weeks after canceling hundreds of flights, American Airlines today canceled over 900 flights, affecting an estimated 100,000 travelers. The airline also canceled 460 flights on Tuesday and nearly 1,100 yesterday. The cancellations, which affected American's 300 MD-80s, are in response to an FAA directive involving the covers of wire bundles for the MD-80's fuel pump.
The problem was first identified back in 2006, and if American had taken steps to solve the problem immediately, the current problem would have been averted. But instead, the airline is being hit with this crisis at a time when fuel prices and a weak economy are affecting airlines in general. Because the cancellations are their fault, American is responsible for handing out $500 travel vouchers and hotel rooms for travelers - not to mention paying overtime for mechanics. And, perhaps even more significant, is future business that will be lost.
CEO Gerard Arpey apologized: "We have obviously failed to complete the airworthiness directive to the precise standards that the FAA requires, and I take full responsibility for that," he said. But it's little consolation to the travelers affected.