AMR Arrivals Slow Again as FAA Reminds Pilots of Surveillance

American Airlines’ flight slowdown reached the two-week mark with fresh delays today even as U.S. regulators reminded pilots of the stepped-up surveillance under way at the bankrupt carrier.

With 308 flights tracked, the on-time rate was 61 percent as of 10:23 a.m. New York time, according to industry researcher FlightStats.com. A Federal Aviation Administration official commented on the surveillance in a response to an e-mailed question from an American pilot. The carrier threatened yesterday to take legal action against the Allied Pilots Association if the slowdown didn’t stop.

American’s on-time performance began sliding on Sept. 14 after the airline imposed concessions to help it restructure under court protection. On-time arrivals dropped as low as 37 percent on Sept. 17, according to FlightStats, raising concern that passengers would shift to other airlines.

The FAA surveillance covers “all regulatory requirements which are expected to be followed by the airline, as well as the maintenance and pilot groups,” Skip Whitrock, who manages the AMR certificate management office for the FAA, said in the e- mail, which was later shared with other pilots and confirmed by the FAA.

The oversight, which occurs for any bankrupt airline, includes frivolous maintenance reports, misuse of a minimum equipment list that must be completed before each flight, lack of adequate maintenance, deliberate delays and other areas, Whitrock said.

American had a 50 percent on-time arrival rate yesterday, compared with 90 percent for Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), 85 percent for Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) and 77 percent for United Continental Holdings Inc., according to FlightStats data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at maryc.s@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net

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