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Spirit Airlines Cancels Multiple Flights for Aircraft Inspections: Disruptions Expected for Days

by Riley Cook

Spirit Airlines has canceled approximately 100 flights, and passengers should expect disruptions to continue for several days after the airline removed some aircraft from service for inspections. While the airline didn't specify the nature of these inspections, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indicated that they involve inspecting brackets on the planes' airframes.

Image Credit: Bloomberg / Contributor / Getty Images

By late Friday afternoon, Spirit had canceled 11% of its scheduled flights for the day, the highest percentage of cancellations among leading US carriers, according to FlightAware, a tracking service. The airline stated, "We’ve canceled a portion of our scheduled flights to perform a necessary inspection of a small section of 25 of our aircraft. The impact to our network is expected to last several days as we complete the inspections and work to return to normal operations."

The FAA explained that these inspections are mandatory maintenance inspections and are required to identify any signs of cracking around fasteners that attach pressure panels to beams on the planes' airframes. If these cracks go undetected, they could potentially lead to reduced structural integrity and, in extreme cases, rapid decompression of the aircraft.

Fatigue cracks in the frames of airplanes have been a known risk, and the inspections that Spirit Airlines is currently conducting have been required by European and US regulators for many years. The FAA last updated these requirements in 2018. The FAA also noted that it would ensure the matter is addressed before the planes are cleared for service.

As of June 30, Spirit Airlines operated 198 planes, all of them being variants of the Airbus A320 family. The airline advised customers to check their flight status before heading to the airport. A significant number of the cancellations affected flights at Orlando International Airport, particularly notable since Spirit is the second-largest carrier at this airport.

Spirit Airlines, headquartered in Miramar, Florida, has canceled over 3,600 flights this year, accounting for 1.5% of its schedule. This cancellation rate is lower than Frontier Airlines, another budget carrier, which has a 2% cancellation rate, as well as JetBlue Airways and United Airlines.


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