Yesterday, the FAA raised some concerns about the maintenance and operations of the Mcdonell-Douglas 80 aircraft and American Airlines, their largest US customer was forced to cancel nearly 320 (up from the original 200 they had reported) flights for immediate inspections. Their thought was that they would be finished with analysis by the end of the day and back to normal operations soon, but it now appears that the issue is more widespread than originally thought.
American is still hunting down MD-80’s today, with another 132 flights canceled, while Delta Airlines has suddenly acknowledged the problem and is starting inspections of their own aviary; they expect to cancel just over three hundred flights as well.
One is forced to wonder if the root cause of the problem is now in the inspection procedures of the airlines or in the aircraft itself. Are wiring bundles aging prematurely and failing on all MD-80 aircraft? It will be interesting to see if other airlines start to follow suit and take their own MD-80’s out of commission. Midwest and several other airlines globally run the same aircraft — will they make the same cancellations?
In the mean time, keep an eye on your short-haul flights over the next couple of days to make sure your schedule hasn’t been messed with. This problem could definitely ripple outward for a few days.