American Airlines to cite FAA for flight fiasco: report

An American Airlines MD-80 aircraft sits on the tarmac at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in this April 9, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/John Gress

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American Airlines is poised to say in a report to be delivered on Friday that it wouldn’t have had to cancel over 3,000 flights last month if a tentative agreement it had with local aviation officials hadn’t been overruled, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The report will say that the carrier thought it had a “hand-shake” pact with regional Federal Aviation Administration managers, through which it meant to repair wiring systems on its MD-80 planes on a schedule that would not have forced it to cancel flights, which left over 300,000 passengers stranded last month.

But FAA headquarters overruled those local officials and pressed forward with a tougher enforcement plan literally overnight, the report said, according to the Journal.

The report, to be delivered to the U.S. Department of Transportation, is also expected to say that FAA officials did not check any of the affected planes or raise doubts about the initial wiring work until March 2008, the Journal reported.

The FAA and American Airlines were not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman; Editing by Erica Billingham