American Airlines Flew Wrong, Uncertified Aircraft From L.A. To Hawaii

In what is believed to be an alarming incident of negligence, American Airlines admittedly used the wrong plane for a Los Angeles to Hawaii trip last month. According to ABC News, American Airlines earlier today admitted to using an aircraft that was not certified to fly an extended trip over water for a trip to Hawaii last month.

The incident reportedly happened on August 31, 2015, when American Airlines Flight 31 took off from Los Angeles International Airport and landed safely at Honolulu International Airport. However, it was later found that the aircraft used for the flight — an Airbus A321 — was not certified to fly over water for long distances — a mandatory requirement for all flights to Hawaii.

All twin-engined aircrafts that are used to fly long distances over water need something known as an ETOPS (Extended Range Operation with Two-Engine Airplanes) certification. The FAA does not approve aircraft without ETOPS certification to fly over the Pacific Ocean. American Airlines themselves have two different types of Airbus A321 Aircraft — the A321H that is ETOPS certified and can fly to Hawaii, and the A321S that cannot fly to Hawaii.

On August 31, however, someone seems to have goofed up and prepped a non-ETOPS certified aircraft for the Hawaii trip.

In a statement issued to ABC News, American airlines admitted to the goof-up.

“When we realized what happened, we immediately notified the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] and began a thorough review of our procedures.”

American Airlines also claimed that they have made necessary changes to their software to ensure such goof-ups do not happen again.

“Already, we have revised our software to properly identify the correct aircraft are operating the correct routes,” the statement read.

The statement further reads as follows.

“American Airlines A321S flies over water regularly for many missions, but is not ETOPS-certified, which is required by the FAA for American’s Hawaiian flights. The A321S is equipped with four slide-rafts (one at each corner of the aircraft) and one portable raft in addition to life vests and seat cushions that can serve as flotation devices.”

While aviation experts agree that that this should not have happened, they also believe that the aircraft was in no severe danger and that it was as risky as any other flight. The FAA is looking into the incident and more details shall be made available as and when they become available.

Do you think American Airlines should be penalized for this mistake?

[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]