The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that it grounded the Hawaiian cargo airline Transair weeks after one of its Boeing 737s crashed into the ocean near Honolulu’s International Airport off Oahu.
However, it’s not due to the ditching of the 737 jet on July 2. The FAA said that the airline was grounded due to maintenance and safety issues. In a statement, the FAA said: “The agency’s decision is separate from the ongoing investigation into the July 2 accident.”
The airline’s maintenance and safety practices were being investigated months before the ditching. The FAA said that Rhoades Aviation, which does business as Transair, was being investigated since last fall.
The aviation watchdog had also proposed grounding Transair’s planes on June 13, about three weeks before the crash. Although the airline was given 30 days to ask for reconsideration, it did not do. The agency had warned Rhoades Aviation to stop Transair from completing its maintenance.
The FAA announced that effective midnight Thursday, Rhoades Aviation cannot fly or conduct maintenance inspections until it complies with the agencies’ regulations. In its statement released on Friday, the FAA said:
“Last night, the FAA notified Rhoades Aviation that the agency was moving forward with the plans to remove its authority to conduct maintenance inspections effective midnight local time Thursday in Hawaii.”
“The agency also informed the company that without an inspection authorization, the carrier would not be able to operate legally.”
However, the FAA said that this ban doesn’t apply to Trans Executive Airlines, a sister company that operates smaller turboprops.
Earlier this month, a Transair Boeing 737 cargo jet ditched in the Pacific Ocean off Oahu, and both the pilots were rescued. The Transair Flight 810 was forced to return to Hawaii after the crew reported engine problems shortly after departure.
The Boeing 737 involved was the oldest plane in the airline’s fleet. The engines were so old, weak, and worn out that the aircraft was about to retire. The incident is now being investigated by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.