American Airlines grounds MD80’s… what’s going on?

As I’m sure almost everyone has read, AA grounded 204 of their MD80’s today, forcing them to cancel hundreds of flights.

American Airlines grounded its fleet of Boeing MD-80s on Wednesday so crews could reinspect wire bundles to comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. The nation’s largest carrier canceled more than 340 flights — or about 14 percent of its scheduled service — according to the latest results from

The need for the new inspections became known during an audit of American by a joint team of inspectors from the FAA and the Fort Worth-based airline.

“Preliminary results of the audit show a high rate of airworthiness-directive compliance,” Alison Duquette, FAA spokesperson in Washington, D.C., told 

I’m really starting to get puzzled over all of this, especially after UA grounded some 747’s last week and WN not only grounded their planes, but was forced to pay a massive fine.

If I am understanding this correctly, it was an “audit” that found out there wasn’t full compliance, so now they’re fixing their wiring issue. If this were a single event I would understand it, but with three cases like this in the span of about a week, I’m thinking there has to be more to the story. Has the FAA been totally lax the past few years and not seen the non-complying airlines? Did the airlines stop caring about safety overnight (highly doubtful)? Is the FAA overdoing it at this point and just trying to find things that are wrong, or are they doing a massive audit of all airlines?

Someone please enlighten me, because I’m confused!


  1. Every airlines has its safety checks and FAA has their own.

    As I understand, FAA’s safety requirements are very stringent. I heard from someone that on one aircraft, the aircraft cannot fly if the coffee pot is faulty.

    I think it all started with WN who are rumored to be a little lax on their safety checks and it rippled down to FAA doing it for all airlines.

    The MD-80 wires problem with AA and DL cannot be that big since they were not fined and instead voluntarily grounded their fleet to get the inspections done.

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