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Planes aren’t like buses. They need to go through all kinds of checkups before they can be used for certain flights. This is especially important if the flights are long-distance and there are no emergency landing sites along the route. If only folks from American Airlines were aware of this.
In this month’s most relevant piece of travel news, we learn that American Airlines used an uncertified plane to fly 100+ people along with cargo from Los Angeles to Hawaii. The type of the plane that they flew was ok – Airbus 321 – but the specific plane was not approved for long haul flights.
To be more precise, the plane that was used did not adhere to Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS). This certificate is necessary for two-engine planes like the A321 that are used for long-range overseas journeys. Namely, such planes need to be able to make the flight on one engine only (in case the other one breaks down during flight) and this certificates indicates such ability. This particular plane did not have such a certificate.
The precise reason for this rather dangerous mix-up has not yet been identified but the good news is that everything worked out fine and there were no problems with the plane. This time.