Thursday, January 29, 2009

American Airlines limiting number of passengers on some planes

American Airlines has decided to limit the number of passengers it carries on some of its aircraft and to order additional life crafts that could be needed in an emergency water landing, such as the case with the US Airways jet that was forced to ditch into the Hudson River in New York City earlier this month.

The carrier will no longer carry more than 228 people on its Boeing 767-300 aircraft, including passengers and crew members, although the capacity was set at 236, said spokesman Tim Wagner.

This type of aircraft operates typically on transatlantic flights and services to Latin America.

American has taken this action to ensure that it is in full compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations regarding raft capacity, the spokesman added.

Wagner noted that the problem originated when American added additional seats a few years ago with the redesign of the business-class cabin on the 767. Earlier this week the carrier discovered the raft capacity shortage when it reviewed the numbers on its new Boeing 737s, and decided to review the situation on its other aircraft types as well.

According to FAA regulations, life rafts must be able to accommodate everyone on board, including children who are seated on their parents’ laps. The plan must assume that one raft will fail to function properly.