[Above: A Delta Shuttle MD-88]
---Following the extraordinary action by American Airlines yesterday, Delta Air Lines says it's pulling an unspecified number of MD80 models -- MD88s in this case -- off line over maintenance issues. Flight cancellations will result. Delta flies 117 MD88s in its total mainline fleet of 454. And remember, MD-88s are what Delta uses on its shuttle.
Delta's statement was issued late yesterday after the news agency Reuters reported the story. Note that the word "cancellations" is weirdly missing from the PR language, as if not saying it means customers won't notice the schedule disruptions.
Yesterday, American Airlines said it was inspecting 200 of its MD-80s. American canceled 325 flights yesterday, according to FlightStats.com data. America has about 2,200 mainline and about 4,000 total system (including regional feeds) flights daily.
[Update: As of 6 p.m. EDT today, Delta has canceled 237 of its 1,639 scheduled mainline flights, with operations at Atlanta being hardest hit, according to FlightStats.com. So be sure to check your flight status if you're on Delta tonight or tomorrow.
Here's Delta's statement:
"ATLANTA, March 26, 2008 – Delta Air Lines today issued the following statement regarding its proactive, voluntary review of MD-88 aircraft:
Safety is Delta's No. 1 priority and we take [the FAA] Airworthiness Directives very seriously. Delta is working in full partnership with the FAA and has begun pro-actively and voluntarily revalidating the full compliance of a prior Airworthiness Directive that was completed earlier this year. We expect this voluntary review, which will take place on Delta's 117 MD-88 aircraft, to have some impact to the operation. Delta apologizes in advance for any inconvenience this may cause and will work to pro-actively contact and reaccommodate any affected customers. The review will be completed by the end of the week."