AA Admits Jet Used for Pacific Flight Not Certified for Long Trip Over Water
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
American Airlines (AA) revealed today that one of their planes not approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for an extended journey over water flew from Los Angeles to Hawaii, CNN reported.
Flight 31, an Airbus A321-S, safely traveled August 31 from Los Angeles International Airport to Honolulu International Airport, but as revealed by AA spokesperson Casey Norton to CNN, the aircraft was not ETOPS (Extended Range Operation with Two-Engine Airplanes) certified, thus not approved by the FAA to make the trip.
Still en route when “someone on the ground” discovered the error, Norton told CNN, the FAA was contacted, and the decision was made to complete the flight.
"When we realized what happened, we immediately notified the FAA and began a thorough review of our procedures," said Norton to CNN. "Already, we have revised our software to properly identify the correct aircraft are operating the correct routes."
CNN said aircraft headed for Hawaii are “required by the FAA to have extra fire suppression equipment in the cargo hold and extra medical equipment on board, including oxygen,” as there is no place to divert in case of an emergency.
"Somebody screwed up big-time, somewhere," said an AA pilot, not authorized to speak on the record, to CNN.
The pilot told CNN that a maintenance crew must make sure the required equipment is in working order before takeoff. "All (extended operation) related equipment must be certified and be operational before a plane is cleared to fly. That means everything from oil quantities, to crew oxygen quantities, to retardants — they all have to be looked at," he said to the news network. "All I can say is, thank God they didn't have an emergency on that flight."
According to CNN, the return flight from Hawaii was canceled and the jet was flown back to LAX with a minimal crew.
Norton said to CNN the FAA-certified aircraft, an A321-H, is very similar to the A321-S, with the same engines and range.
CNN reached out to the FAA for comment, but did not hear back.
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