Wednesday, August 13, 2008

American Airlines praises crew for LAX emergency landing, evacuation

American Airlines B757On August 5, 2008, an American Airlines Boeing 757 aircraft, operating as Flight AAL31, returned to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) less than hour after its departure for Honolulu, due to smoke in the cabin. The aircraft made a safe emergency landing at LAX, followed by an emergency evacuation on the runway. No serious injuries were reported.

Today American Airlines released a statement about its review of the incident. The statement said that the odor of the oil and a smoky haze was taken into the cabin through the air conditioning system.

American Airlines also determined "that the flight crew acted appropriately in all instances onboard."
The captain appropriately decided to return and have the issue resolved on the ground. The flight landed safely after being airborne for a total of 57 minutes. The safe operation of this flight was never in jeopardy. Our pilots followed standard operating procedure by returning to Los Angeles.

American Airlines procedure allows for an evacuation when there is smoke in the cabin of an aircraft. Those procedures also allow for flight attendants to initiate an evacuation. The flight attendants acted appropriately to evacuate Flight 31, and in fact, the evacuation was accomplished quickly, exactly according to procedure, and with only very minor injuries – which are common in slide evacuations.

“We are proud of the way our entire flight crew handled Flight 31,” said Lauri Curtis, American’s Vice President – Onboard Service. “We support their action, commend their professionalism, and know that the training they participate in yearly plays a major role in handling scenarios like this.”
Certain news reports had suggested that both the emergency landing and the evacuation might have been unnecessary, or an overreaction on the part of the crew, and that the flight attendants on Flight 31 may have overstepped their authority in initiating the evacuation. Let's hope that the public statement made today by American Airlines puts such specious claims to rest.

[Photo Source]