Last updated: 10:57 AM ET, Wed July 15 2015

FAA Imposes Altitude, Speed Restrictions on SkyWest Airlines

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | July 15, 2015

FAA Imposes Altitude, Speed Restrictions on SkyWest Airlines

The Federal Aviation Administration has placed speed and altitude restrictions on SkyWest Airlines three months after one if its flights allegedly stalled out at 39,000 feet.

According to ABC News, the FAA claims a SkyWest flight from Denver to Oklahoma City last April stalled, causing it to quickly descend 12,000 feet to an altitude of 27,000 feet. 

Even though the flight landed without issue, the FAA has handed down restrictions to the Utah-based carrier. An altitude cap of 35,000 feet has been assigned for SkyWest's CRJ700 and 900 aircraft, while the airline's CRJ200 aircraft are limited to 33,000 feet. 

Minimum cruise speeds have been set at 272 mph for SkyWest's CRJ200 aircraft and 288 mph for its CRJ700s and 900s.

Because planes are more likely to experience a stall at higher altitudes and slower speeds, the FAA's restrictions are designed to reduce the likelihood of another incident while also increasing a pilot's margin for error.

In wake of the FAA's imposed restrictions, SkyWest maintains that "no stall occurred," according to a statement via ABC, and was critical of the agency's decision.

"Months ago, one SkyWest CRJ aircraft experienced an isolated slow speed event, which is when an aircraft reaches less than optimal speeds," said SkyWest in the statement to ABC. "The aircraft's slow speed alert systems functioned perfectly, and the crew responded appropriately with a 4,000-foot descent. No stall occurred."

The airline, which carried nearly 28 million passengers last year and operates more than 1,800 flights per day, said it expects the restrictions to be lifted. 

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