Lawmakers were asking questions and some fed-up air travelers headed for trains. Others gave the airlines a pass, saying the companies were doing the best they could.
“If somebody’s got a choice between being in a plane crash and being late, is there a choice?” Jane Bernard, a writer from New York who was delayed by at least three hours en route from LaGuardia Airport to Miami, said Thursday.
“Poor management,” he said bluntly.
Congress also weighed in Thursday. The Federal Aviation Administration official who ordered safety audits last month, Nicholas Sabatini, faced tough questions from a Senate subcommittee about the agency’s lax oversight of airlines and his own accountability for recent breakdowns. The FAA noted that airlines had 18 months to check electrical wiring on MD-80 jets since an initial order was issued in September 2006.
American, a unit of Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp., canceled another 595 flights Friday, bringing this week’s total to nearly 3,100 due to safety inspections of its MD-80s. The carrier said disruptions will continue through Saturday as it works to comply with the federal safety order.
At least 250,000 passengers have been affected by the American cancellations this week alone.
Other carriers like Continental Airlines Inc., JetBlue Airways Corp., AirTran Airways and Northwest Airlines Corp. said they passed the first round of FAA audits with a clean slate and did not expect extra maintenance work or flight delays. It was impossible to say whether that could change since the FAA is conducting another round of safety audits.
The cancellations come at a time of high fuel prices and mixed success among the major air carriers at getting domestic fare increases to stick. The fact that airplanes are flying very full is making it difficult for airlines that cancel flights to find empty seats on other carriers to rebook their passengers.
“This disruption is severe,” said Webster O’Brien, an industry expert with aviation consulting firm Simat, Helliesen & Eichner. “People are going to be unhappy. There isn’t going to be an easy way to walk everybody out of it.”
American CEO Gerard Arpey said Thursday that the cancellations will cost the airline “in the tens of millions of dollars.” Analysts say the toll could easily be that, and perhaps much more.
Besides lost revenue from the canceled flights, American also was giving $500 travel vouchers to an unspecified number of inconvenienced passengers and putting some travelers up in hotels. There also could be transportation costs to and from hotels, extra overtime for employees and the long-term costs of losing goodwill among customers.
American spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said the cost probably wouldn’t be known until Saturday night, when the carrier expects to have all its MD-80s back in service.
The cost to other airlines also was unclear, and the pain could continue, analysts said.
He said the disruption was worse than some major storms that have affected large airline hubs.
“The costs are fairly substantial,” Baggaley said. “Given that the cancellations have been spread among a number of carriers, this will make it harder for airlines to turn around and try to raise fares, particularly in the weakening economy. It does indeed come at a bad time.”
Some travelers looked for other modes of transportation.
“Our ridership was heavy yesterday, is heavy today and is likely to be heavy tomorrow, based on our reservations,” Cole said Thursday.
- American Airlines cancels 115 flights per day as Max aircraft problems continue
- American Airlines cancels 737 Max flights until at least Nov. 2
- American Airlines announces new flights to Phoenix from COS
- American Airlines cancels 737 Max flights through September
- American Airlines to add flights between Columbia and Chicago
- American Airlines adds direct flights to Phoenix out of Fargo
- CVG Airport: American Airlines adds new flight to Phoenix
- American Airlines Extends Flight Cancellations
- American Airlines Extends 737 Max Cancellations
- American Airlines warns on 2019 profit over 737 Max, fuel
- American Airlines Group Reports First-Quarter 2019 Profit
- American Airlines estimates $350 million impact from Boeing 737 Max 8 grounding
American Airlines cancels another 595 flights Friday have 799 words, post on www.nydailynews.com at April 11, 2008. This is cached page on VietNam Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.