In an embarrassing blunder, American Airlines flew from Los Angeles to Hawaii using an aircraft that’s not certified to operate that sort of distance over water. American’s mistake violated US Federal Aviation Administration rules.
The mistake happened a couple of weeks ago, in late August, a few days after the airline began flying Airbus A321 planes on the Los Angeles to Hawaii route
The Washington Post broke the story and a spokesman for the airline confirmed to the paper a version of the A321 used on the route was not certified to make the journey, which involves a long flight over water.
The airline realised its mistake halfway through the five-hour flight but decided to press on to Honolulu. It cancelled the return flight and flew an empty plane back to Los Angeles.
Planes that fly routes with no suitable landing areas must have a certification called ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards), which calls for the aircraft to be equipped with extra oxygen and a fire suppression cannister.
The A321 planes can be either ETOPS certified or non-ETOPS certified. It’s important for airlines to know exactly which sort of planes they are operating and where.
American Airlines, a codeshare partner and close ally of Qantas, will from December operate its own daily B777 flights between Los Angeles and Sydney.
Edited by William Sykes