AA's letter of apology and an explanation

Apr 12th, 2008, 09:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
AA's letter of apology and an explanation

Received a letter of apology from AA's CEO and an explanation.

First the apology:

April 11, 2008

Dear AAFrequentFlyer,

As one of our most valued customers, please accept my apology on behalf of American Airlines® to you, your family and your fellow AAdvantage® customers for disrupting so many peoples' lives with the recent flight cancellations related to the inspection of our MD-80 aircraft fleet.

As you can imagine, American's decision to cancel thousands of flights this week was difficult, and it undoubtedly created concern among our best customers even those who had no travel plans during the period.

If in your travels you were among the many who have been personally affected, I sincerely regret the inconvenience you have experienced. Our employees will continue to work around the clock to accommodate all who still need to reach their desired destinations. We anticipate returning to a full schedule by Monday.

While the media reports have documented the reasons why American took this action and the steps we're taking to re-accommodate and compensate affected customers, I've also attached an explanation of the events for your understanding. It's a bit complex, but at the end of it all, please know this:

First, your safety and the safety of our employees remains our number one priority.

Second, we will learn from this experience, and we will get better.

Finally, we wholeheartedly appreciate your loyalty to American Airlines, and we remain committed to earning your business each and every day.


Dan Garton
Executive Vice President

and the explanation:

American Airlines MD-80 Fleet Inspections

Background: : In 2004, American Airlines was the lead airline working with Boeing to develop a Service Bulletin to correct wiring exposure and chafing in the MD-80 auxiliary hydraulic pump wire bundle. The concern was that exposure and chafing could cause fire in the wheel well. An Airworthiness Directive (AD) was issued in September 2006, giving MD-80 operators, including American, 18 months to address this issue. American completed the Service Bulletin in November 2006, followed by adjustments deemed necessary by American's structural engineers to comply with the AD well ahead of a March 2008 deadline.

In recent weeks the Federal Aviation Administration significantly increased its emphasis on monitoring the adherence to Airworthiness Directives that apply to various U.S. airlines. With respect to American Airlines' MD-80 fleet, we had a detailed issue that we believed had to be addressed immediately to remain compliant with the FAA; if found in non-compliance, we would have been instructed to stop flying our airplanes.

What is the specific nature of the issue?
The issue surrounds questions raised by the FAA about the way American implemented the Engineering Change Order (ECO) addressing the MD-80 auxiliary pump wiring Airworthiness Directive (AD). American fixed the item well within the specified AD timeframe. The work being done now centers on a need to change the way in which American complied with the AD regarding such items as the spacing of the ties on the wiring bundles and the direction of the retention clips and lacing cords. We are highly confident that this is not a safety of flight issue because the wire bundle is secure. It is a matter of how the work was done, not whether aircraft were protected from the threat of wire exposure and chafing that could cause fire.

Why ground the entire MD-80 fleet?
It became clear based on the number of questions the FAA raised that there would be a high percentage of aircraft that would not be found to be in full compliance of the Airworthiness Directive. Working with the FAA we were unable to find an alternative solution to regaining compliance for example, a multi-day period to rectify the issues so we had no choice but to ground the aircraft. While it has been a major disruption to AA's operation, everyone recognizes the need to ensure that the MD-80 fleet is in complete compliance and is working to restore the MD-80s back to service as quickly as possible.

Who is completing the work and why is it taking longer than the previous MD-80 inspections?
There are three levels of American employees accomplishing the work. American has assigned a team of employees aviation maintenance technicians, quality assurance inspectors, and engineers to inspect the aircraft and ensure full technical compliance, as well as to make any additional adjustments. As our aircraft return to service, the FAA is inspecting those aircraft to ensure compliance.

Reporting from Kabul. Staying in tonight. Had a long night last night. Back to work tomorrow.

Good night!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 12th, 2008, 08:57 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
I got the same E-mail. Although it was very frustrating to try to fly three days in row this week (with no success), I'm still an AA fan, especially since they completely refunded the price of my non-refundable ticket. I didn't want to keep trying day after day with no guarantee of success, so I asked what would happen if I didn't travel. The counter agent issued a refund. I fully expected to not be able to do that and to have to apply the cost toward a future ticket, but, no. I can start from scratch. Maybe that's standard procedure for a situation such as this, but it worked out okay.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Apr 13th, 2008, 04:12 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,038
I didn't fly anywhere on any airline this past week while all this was going on.

Still, I would not have hesitated to fly if I had to. I'm still confident that air travel is the safest way to get there from here.

I also think that aircraft safety is now better than it has ever been. The maintenance AA carried out was really above and beyond what was needed to correct the potential problems that had beem discovered.
SamH is offline  
Apr 13th, 2008, 04:20 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 669
Same letter here as well and still an AA fan. I bypassed DFW on my return to MCI and headed to DAL instead. AA put me on an Embraer with non stop service to MCI - no problems. I have no hesistatations with flying AA again this week.
mjz_kc is offline  

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