American Airlines scrubs 570 additional flights

The cancellation of thousands offlights this week will cost American Airlines tens of millions ofdollars, the company's chief executive said Thursday, but he saidthe nation's largest carrier can withstand

News 12 Staff

Apr 11, 2008, 2:51 AM

Updated 5,938 days ago

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The cancellation of thousands offlights this week will cost American Airlines tens of millions ofdollars, the company's chief executive said Thursday, but he saidthe nation's largest carrier can withstand the losses.
American said it canceled another 570 flights Friday anddisruptions will continue through Saturday as it continues to checkelectrical wiring in all 300 of its MD-80 aircraft.
CEO Gerard Arpey said he took full responsibility for theairline's failure to comply with a federal safety rule designed toprevent electrical fires in the planes.
American scratched more than 900 flights Thursday, the thirdstraight day of major cancellations, while its mechanics workedovertime to check the aircraft and comply with the rule. Thecompany said all its MD-80s would be back in service by Saturdaynight.
Arpey said neither the airline's mechanics nor the FederalAviation Administration were to blame for the more than 3,000canceled flights so far this week.
The airline canceled more than 400 flights for the same reasontwo weeks ago. But the repairs done then didn't meet FAA standards,resulting in this week's debacle.
On Wednesday, Arpey's top lieutenant suggested that American hadfallen victim to a suddenly more aggressive FAA. The agency hasbeen under fire since disclosures last month of its lax enforcementof safety rules at Southwest Airlines Co.
In measured tones, Arpey said Thursday that the FAA "obviouslyis under their own set of scrutiny and pressure right now," butwas only doing its job of "holding airlines to exactingstandards."
Arpey said it was too early for the airline to estimate the costof the cancellations. AMR is running a tab for meals, hotel roomsand $500 travel vouchers for stranded passenger and it lost revenuewhen it booked people on other airlines. On the other hand, it hassaved what it would have spent for fuel on those 2,500 flights.
"I think it will be in the tens of millions of dollars," Arpeysaid of the final cost. But he said the airline had built up enoughcash and paid down debt to deal with the loss. He said the carrierhas business-interruption insurance, but he doubted that it wouldcover the cancellation-related losses.


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