American, Delta, The FAA, And The Explosive AD

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American Airlines and Delta Air Lines combined to cancel roughly 400 flights (Delta was responsible for about two-thirds of that total) as the FAA's push to check maintenance records for compliance continues. American is rechecking 300 of its MD-80s and Delta is checking about 117 MD-88s. It seems the airlines are reacting to a specific airworthiness directive issued in September of 2006 that requires compliance by March of 2008. The AD calls for the aircraft to be checked for evidence of arcing on power cables of the auxiliary hydraulic pump and for action to be taken to prevent shorted wires or arcing and thereby reduce the potential for creation of an ignition source adjacent to the aircraft's fuel tanks. The affected aircraft make up about 46 percent of American's fleet and 20 percent of Delta's. Following on the heels of the FAA's $10.2 million fine against Southwest Airlines, the airlines may be moving to take action before being acted upon.