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FAA increases scrutiny on AA

Published:Sunday | January 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:Already under Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) scrutiny for three concurrent botched landings, the American Airlines accident at the Norman Manley International Airport on December 22 will result in even closer watch by the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA).

In a CNN report yesterday, that news network quoted FAA spokes-man Lynn Lunsford, who said his organisation was heightening scrutiny of American Airlines after the carrier had three landings go wrong in December.

"In situations where there may be several incidents involving a single carrier over a short period of time, FAA inspectors increase their oversight, which we're doing now," Lunsford reportedly said.

wing tip touches ground

According to CNN, the review was prompted by the botched landings of three planes between December 13 and December 24.

In the December 13 incident, an MD-80 landing at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina touched down and went off the left side of the runway. While trying to get back on to the runway, the plane's right wing tip touched the ground.

On December 22, the worst of the three incidents, a Boeing 737-800 overran the runway amid heavy rain at the Norman Manley International Airport injuring 91 passengers.

And on Christmas Eve, December 24, an MD-80 en route from Chicago, Illinois, struck a wingtip landing in Austin, Texas.

The report quoted American Airlines spokesman Billy Sanez stating that the airline was cooperating fully and that the investigation was routine in landing incidents.

close watch

When The Sunday Gleaner checked with JCAA head, Lieutenant Col Oscar Derby, he said that in light of the FAA query, "We would pay close watch to see if there is really a problem with procedures."

He opted not to speak further on the issue, noting that the investi-gations were still incomplete.

In the meantime, he has announced a press conference which is planned for tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the offices of the JCAA in St Andrew.

"We have reached a point in the investigation where some of the American companies, including the National Transportation and Security Board, the FAA and several American Airlines personnel are pulling out of the country," Colonel Derby told The Sunday Gleaner.

He said the media will be apprised on the facts that have been found so far, in addition to information relating to other aspects of the investigation.