MIAMI — American Airlines has grounded 14 of its refurbished Boeing 737-800NGs after the carrier identified an issue with the quality of work conducted on the planes’ overhead bins, causing the cancelation of 40 flights on Thursday.
American Airlines issued a public statement, explaining that “after further inspection (…) the work that was conducted on these two aircraft was not up to our standards. Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively removed from service the additional 12 aircraft that were updated by this vendor and have notified the FAA.”
The airline added that it will perform additional inspection work on these 14 aircraft. “Though the issue did not impact the safety of flight of these aircraft, we are working with our vendor and the FAA to immediately address this issue.”
These refurbished planes are part of a major retrofit that the airline has embarked on, aiming to rejuvenate more than 200 aircraft in its fleet. This project, also dubbed “Project Oasis,” aims to “harmonize and optimize” the airline’s fleet configurations in a more pattern-oriented manner.
The vast majority of the airline’s 737-800NGs will be re-fitted with the new interiors that the brand-new 737 MAX 8s are equipped with.
The new cabin configuration comes with a higher density seating layout, fitting 12 more seats at a tighter 30-inch pitch.
The brand-new 737 MAX 8s come with 172 seats, with the biggest changes being evidenced in the Business Class cabin, which now feature slim line seats with no in-flight entertainment screens embedded onto them.
The new configuration on board the 737
However, the revenue per square meter present on the new 737 MAX 8s and the refurbished 737-800NGs seems to be far more important to the airline than the comfort of its customers and flight crew.
The airline has not disclosed for how long the grounding of these 14 planes will take. Airways will continue to monitor for future updates.