Regional Airline ASA Grounds 60 Jets

Eagle757shark

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Regional airline ASA grounds 60 jets

By MIKE MORRIS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines has grounded 60 jets — or 40 percent of its fleet — for engine safety inspections.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many Wednesday flights will be canceled, but a spokeswoman said some planes could be grounded until late Thursday or Friday.
ASA is one of Atlanta-based Delta’s biggest contract carriers and has 396 daily departures from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Delta books passengers on the flights and numbers the flights as its own.
ASA spokeswoman Kate Modolo said an internal audit revealed concerns about whether the planes’ engines had been inspected according to the engine manufacturer’s recommendations.
The company self-reported the problem to the Federal Aviation Administration and voluntarily grounded the planes late Tuesday “as a precautionary measure” so they could be re-inspected, Modolo said.
“We’re working to complete engine re-inspections on all of those aircraft within the next 36 to 42 hours,” Modolo said just before daybreak Wednesday.
“Safety is our number one priority, and we apologize for the inconvenience this has been causing the passengers,” Modolo said. She said customers are being contacted by the Delta reservations office “and are being re-accommodated on next available flights.”
The Federal Aviation Administration sometimes orders inspections of commercial aircraft when maintenance issues arise, but mass groundings are unusual. Modolo said she did not recall such a grounding in the past at ASA.
Only 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 jets were affected. ASA has a total of 150 planes, according to its Web site. They include 110 50-seat CRJ200s, 38 70-seat CRJ700s and two 90-seat CRJ900s.
ASA is based in Atlanta but is now owned by Utah-based SkyWest Inc.
The carrier started as an independent airline in 1979 and became a Delta contract partner in 1984. Delta bought full control of ASA in 1999 but sold it to SkyWest six years later during a financial crisis.
 

Eagle757shark

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Since the other thread is making this out to be a rumor or a hoax. I thought I would post the actual story from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
 

ACL65PILOT

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So Brett, was this an ASA mistake to DAL mistake?
 

ACL65PILOT

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No DAL does work for ASA on a contract basis for their engines. My question was the reporting error at Tech Ops or at your hanger.
Basically do your Mechanics to this work or does our Engine shop do the work?
 

samballs

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No DAL does work for ASA on a contract basis for their engines. My question was the reporting error at Tech Ops or at your hanger.
Basically do your Mechanics to this work or does our Engine shop do the work?
Is your computer typing the word "to" on its own, or are you not reading what you write?
 

ACL65PILOT

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do, to, heck I had been up over 24 hrs, sorry.
 

CFI2766

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No DAL does work for ASA on a contract basis for their engines. My question was the reporting error at Tech Ops or at your hanger.
Basically do your Mechanics to this work or does our Engine shop do the work?


I believe that this will be a question that the lawyers will be sorting out over the next few weeks.

Not to throw stones here, but it would not be out of the realm of the believable to discover that this was yet another cost cutting move at the expense of the regional 'partners' gone bad. This could simply be a case of not enough resources being allocated to accomplish the task of the contracted engine maintenance. (Also, as we all know, the work is never truly done until it is signed off.) Other examples of this would be the recent decrease in number of rampers working DCI flights at KATL, thus negatively affecting D0 and A14 numbers, the raw schedules given to ASA's scheduling department lately, the removal of ASA personel from outstations; the list goes on.

The ultimate question that needs to be answered, which publicly can not in todays legal environment, is whether or not the work was actually done. If it was a matter of the work actually being done, but simply accounted for, that's one thing. If it turns out that the required work was simply not done, that's something else all together. This statement is regardless of whether Delta or ASA maintenance did the work.
 

dash8driver64

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I hope mother delta doesnt get too hasty dragging ASA thru the mud. It was not all that long ago they had a similar problem with their md-80 fleet.
 

ACL65PILOT

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I believe that this will be a question that the lawyers will be sorting out over the next few weeks.

Not to throw stones here, but it would not be out of the realm of the believable to discover that this was yet another cost cutting move at the expense of the regional 'partners' gone bad. This could simply be a case of not enough resources being allocated to accomplish the task of the contracted engine maintenance. (Also, as we all know, the work is never truly done until it is signed off.) Other examples of this would be the recent decrease in number of rampers working DCI flights at KATL, thus negatively affecting D0 and A14 numbers, the raw schedules given to ASA's scheduling department lately, the removal of ASA personel from outstations; the list goes on.

The ultimate question that needs to be answered, which publicly can not in todays legal environment, is whether or not the work was actually done. If it was a matter of the work actually being done, but simply accounted for, that's one thing. If it turns out that the required work was simply not done, that's something else all together. This statement is regardless of whether Delta or ASA maintenance did the work.

True, but there will be legal responsibility either way.

As for the ramp. That is not just at the DCI gates. DAL is cutting staff at all of the gates. Go to E at 10 am in the morning. It is very understaffed. They are using ready reserves to fill in the spots. It is just business as usual for DAL.
 

CFI2766

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True, but there will be legal responsibility either way.

As for the ramp. That is not just at the DCI gates. DAL is cutting staff at all of the gates. Go to E at 10 am in the morning. It is very understaffed. They are using ready reserves to fill in the spots. It is just business as usual for DAL.

I did phrase that poorly. I do understand that it is not just the DCI gates where the staffing was cut. However, I do believe that it is at the DCI gates where the staffing cut has the biggest impact on performance. I would speculate that the number of flights per any given amount of time would be significantly higher for Delta on C and D than any of the other concourses.

It is worth noting that ASA's maintenance department has had several black eyes lately.

The legal responsiblity of this fiasco will be very, very expensive for whomever is found to be culpable in the almost certainly soon to be filed lawsuit.

Another point to consider: if it is found that there were required inspections to be completed that were not done, but signed off as though they were done, there could possibly be some severe consequences for the guilty person. A large fine and possibly even jail time wouldn't be out of the picture given the safety implications here.
 

ACL65PILOT

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Agreed. Not sure about that. From the sound of it, it is probably a book keeping issue. I do not think that negligence was done here. I could be wrong though.
 

COOPERVANE

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the md fleet grounding was not because of incompetence
 

ACL65PILOT

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True, the MD grounding was because of about 1/8 inch difference between the ties and what the FAA sought. In effect DAL grounded their fleet to make the zip ties on the AUX Hyd pump line comply with the FAA's interpretation of their poorly worded AD. The initial work had been done over a year prior.
 

Abernathy

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Um. I resent the thread title. ASA isn't a "regional airline" anymore. We fly "the 9" now, so we do heavy turns to line up perpendicular to the hold short line. We have first class on our planes now, too, where our FAs can ask the Medallion members "Ay baby, whatchu wanno drank." Sometimes, Delta even throws us a bone and parks us up on A or B concourse.
 
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Minimaniac

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Hey, I make heavy turns onto the runway! Bash away, I know it looks pretty stupid. But in my defense, I do it for a reason. The runway performance numbers I use assume that I actually start at the end of the runway, not 300 feet down it. For anyone who does flex t/o on those 8E- engines knows that you use a lot of runway. I use enough 6000 and 7000 ft runways at (relatively) heavy weights on hot days to know that a few hundred feet can make the difference if I lost an engine. I don't assume that every takeoff will be on two engines. Instead of just utilizing max runway on those particular days, I make it a habit to do it on all runways so that one day I don't accidentally short myself when I need it. I will never use all 9500 feet in PHL, but by making "heavy" turns a habit, I may save my bum in Key West or DCA one day.

There are a lot of ways to fly an airplane. My style reflects the safest reasonable approach I know of. I'm not going to risk hitting runway end lights with an engine just to get 10 more feet, but I will try to have the tail touch the runway end. It's ok if you don't like it, but understand that I don't do it to stroke my ego.
 

Abernathy

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Hey, I make heavy turns onto the runway! Bash away, I know it looks pretty stupid. But in my defense, I do it for a reason. The runway performance numbers I use assume that I actually start at the end of the runway, not 300 feet down it. For anyone who does flex t/o on those 8E- engines knows that you use a lot of runway. I use enough 6000 and 7000 ft runways at (relatively) heavy weights on hot days to know that a few hundred feet can make the difference if I lost an engine. I don't assume that every takeoff will be on two engines. Instead of just utilizing max runway on those particular days, I make it a habit to do it on all runways so that one day I don't accidentally short myself when I need it. I will never use all 9500 feet in PHL, but by making "heavy" turns a habit, I may save my bum in Key West or DCA one day.

There are a lot of ways to fly an airplane. My style reflects the safest reasonable approach I know of. I'm not going to risk hitting runway end lights with an engine just to get 10 more feet, but I will try to have the tail touch the runway end. It's ok if you don't like it, but understand that I don't do it to stroke my ego.
:confused: I wasn't poking at heavy turns onto the runway. It's the heavy turn to hold short of the runway when no. 1 for t/o that I always thought was fun to watch.
 

sweptback

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:confused: I wasn't poking at heavy turns onto the runway. It's the heavy turn to hold short of the runway when no. 1 for t/o that I always thought was fun to watch.
There are two types of pilots, those who follow the yellow line, and those who think they're too good for it.
 
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