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April 9, 2008

American Airlines: Not the way to handle a PR crisis

American Airlines is canceling hundreds more flights because the FAA says the planes aren't airworthy. Sez the Dallas Morning News:

American had pulled its MD-80s out of service over two days in late March to inspect the wiring harness to an auxiliary hydraulic pump in a wheel well, canceling nearly 500 flights then.

But a Federal Aviation Administration audit of the work Monday showed that the work did not appear to conform to the engineering change order that details how modifications were to be done.

Sounds pretty technical and nonserious. But the first rule of crisis corporate PR is: When regulators have a problem with your business, even if it IS technical and nonserious, you don't say so. The AA press release says:

These inspections – based on FAA audits – are related to detailed, technical compliance issues and not safety-of-flight issues.

They're all safety-of-flight issues, American. That's why the FAA is flunking your planes.

Posted by Jay Hancock at 11:06 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Jay Hancock
Jay Hancock has been a financial columnist for The Baltimore Sun since 2001. He has also been The Baltimore Sun's diplomatic correspondent in Washington and its chief economics writer. Before moving to Baltimore in 1994 he worked for The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk and The Daily Press of Newport News.

His columns appear Tuesdays and Sundays.

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