Alaska Airlines readies plan to fend off shutdown

Posted: Friday, June 09, 2000

Alaska Airlines is telling federal officials today how it plans to improve its maintenance operations. But the Seattle-based airline, Juneau's only major air carrier, won't make the plan public, at least for now.

The Federal Aviation Administration last Friday gave the airline seven days to explain why it should continue to be allowed to conduct heavy maintenance on its aircraft. Without that authority, the airline could be forced to reduce flights or shut down.

Company spokesman Jack Evans said the company would give the FAA its maintenance plan later today.

``It will address how the airline intends to implement and validate maintenance and engineering, flight operations and safety procedures to address specific concerns raised by the agency,'' Evans said. He said the plan would not be made public yet.

FAA officials have said Alaska Airlines' maintenance authority could be revoked within 30 days if the plan is not adequate. Evans said he hoped the plan would answer the FAA's concerns.

The FAA demanded the plan after an investigation showed about 150 instances of heavy maintenance operations that could not be documented. The work apparently was done, but the lack of documentation concerned regulators.

An intense FAA inspection of the airline began after the Jan. 31 crash of Flight 261, killing all 88 aboard.

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