American Airlines admitted Sunday that it sent a plane from Los Angeles to Honolulu that was not cleared to make the long voyage over the ocean.
The August 31 mix-up, first reported by transportation blogger Brian Sumers, occurred when the airline dispatched an Airbus A321H used by American Airlines that lacked ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. The certification, which requires the plane to carry additional equipment, is needed for planes with two engines to fly long-range routes far from emergency landing sites — like that from the west coast to Hawaii.
American Airlines spokesman Casey Norton told the AFP that they were still looking into how the mix-up happened, but emphasized that over a hundred passengers flew safely on flight 31 that day on the same plane as the one that was supposed to make it --aside from having an "ETOPS" certification.
"It has the same engine, same fuel tanks, same range," Norton told AFP. He said that the A321H has extra medical oxygen -- different than the oxygen masks that drop from the ceiling -- in case of an in-flight medical emergency and an additional fire-suppression canister.