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The inspector general for the Department of Transportation noticed several maintenance issues at American Airlines. According to the report, these lapses in maintenance even resulted in the airline flying unairworthy aircraft.

American Flew Unairworthy Aircraft

The DOT report was released Sunday. The DOT’s inspector general questioned FAA’s relationship with the airline. According to his notes, the agency lacked sufficient oversight if the airline identifies, assesses, and mitigates maintenance risks in its planes.

The report also added that the FAA required American to “use its (safety management system) SMS to determine the level of risk associated with maintenance non-compliances”.

There were multiple instances when the airline used unairworthy aircraft. One of the instances involved a jet that flew passengers for 877 days with a broken emergency evacuation slide. There’s another incident where a jet flew for 1,002 hours even with a missing engine bushing and wrongly installed struts that hold the engines.

According to the report, “FAA inspectors did not routinely or consistently evaluate whether the carrier adequately and effectively assessed and rated risks”. The report also criticized the FAA inspectors’ lack of comprehensive training. The report mentioned that “the FAA did not provide its inspectors with comprehensive training and tools for overseeing and evaluating the carrier’s SMS”. Plus, the report also noted instances when FAA inspectors closed compliance actions even if American has not yet accomplished them.

The report recommends American Airlines to improve its safety compliance. Plus, the report also mentioned that FAA and the DOT inspector general are working to develop training and tools.

American Airlines Defends Its Adherence to Safety

American Airlines emailed a statement defending the company’s safety record.  The airline described its approach to safety as open and transparent. The airline also said that they are willing to communicate and collaborate with regulators. They said that they will take “immediate action to remedy issues”.


John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.




by Virgin America Flight Attendant
TJ Newman



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