American Airlines became the first airline to operate narrowbody Airbus aircraft to Hawaii from North America on 18 August 2015, replacing Boeing 757 aircraft with Airbus A321 aircraft on two daily round-trips between Los Angeles and Honolulu. 13 days later, on 31 August 2015, American accidentally dispatched a non-ETOPS A321 (N137AA (SN 6647)) on flight AA 31 LAX-HNL. (The aircraft had arrived the previous evening on AA 178 from Orlando.) The error was not caught until the flight was well on its way to Hawaii and American elected to continue the flight to Honolulu. The return flight was cancelled and the aircraft was ferried back to California.
American currently operates 165 Airbus A321-200 aircraft. Of these, 95 came from the merger with US Airways. The remaining 70 were ordered by pre-merger American Airlines and have been delivered within the past several years, equipped with Sharklets which reduce fuel burn by four percent. These aircraft are divided into three subfleets:
The lack of additional fuel tanks clearly was not an issue so the main problem was lack of compliance with maintenance, dispatch, and operational requirements as required by 14 CFR Part 121 §161 (FAR 121.161) and 14 CFR Part 121, Appendix P.
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Karl L. Swartz.
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