Spirit Airlines Halts Numerous Flights for Aircraft Inspections; Interruptions to Extend for Several Days

by Sophia Chen
Spirit Airlines cancellations

Spirit Airlines called off approximately 100 flights this past Friday due to the withdrawal of a number of aircraft for inspection procedures. The airline anticipates that the service interruptions will persist for a few days.

Although Spirit did not provide details about the nature of these inspections, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clarified that they pertain to the examination of brackets within the planes’ structural frameworks.

As of late Friday afternoon, Spirit had cancelled 11% of its day’s operations, which stands as the largest percentage of cancelled flights among leading American airlines, based on data from tracking service FlightAware.

In an official statement, Spirit elaborated, “We have suspended a subset of our scheduled flights to carry out essential inspections on 25 aircraft within our fleet. The resulting impact on our operations is projected to endure for multiple days while we conclude these inspections and strive to resume normal operations.”

The FAA confirmed its awareness of Spirit’s move to temporarily remove aircraft from active service for what it termed as “mandatory maintenance inspections.” According to FAA documentation, the required inspections focus on identifying any signs of cracking near the fasteners that connect pressure panels to structural beams within the aircraft’s framework. Failure to detect such cracks could compromise the structural integrity of the aircraft and could potentially lead to a sudden loss of cabin pressure.

The phenomenon of fatigue cracks within aircraft frames is a well-established risk in aviation. The inspections Spirit is presently conducting align with long-standing mandates set forth by both U.S. and European aviation authorities, last updated by the FAA in 2018.

The FAA further assured that it would ascertain the satisfactory resolution of the issue before permitting the affected Spirit aircraft to re-enter service.

As of June 30, Spirit’s fleet consisted of 198 aircraft, all variants of the Airbus A320 family, as disclosed in a regulatory filing by the company.

Spirit advised passengers to confirm their flight status prior to heading to the airport.

Nearly half of Spirit’s flight cancellations occurred at Orlando International Airport in Florida, where the airline is the second-largest service provider.

Headquartered in Miramar, Florida, Spirit Airlines has canceled a total of 3,600 flights this year, amounting to 1.5% of its operational schedule. This cancellation rate is comparatively lower than the 2% observed at Frontier Airlines, a similar low-cost carrier, and the rates recorded for JetBlue Airways and United Airlines.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Spirit Airlines cancellations

What led to the cancellation of flights by Spirit Airlines?

Spirit Airlines canceled approximately 100 flights due to the necessity of conducting mandatory inspections on some of its aircraft. The inspections involve the examination of brackets within the planes’ structural frameworks.

What does the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) say about these inspections?

The FAA has confirmed that it is aware of Spirit’s decision to remove some planes from service for mandatory maintenance inspections. According to FAA documentation, these inspections are required to check for signs of cracking near fasteners that attach pressure panels to structural beams in the aircraft’s framework.

How long are the service disruptions expected to last?

Spirit Airlines anticipates that the disruptions to its flight schedule will persist for several days. This is to allow time to complete the inspections and return the planes to normal operations.

How many planes are affected by these inspections?

According to Spirit Airlines, the inspections are to be carried out on 25 aircraft within their fleet, which consisted of 198 planes as of June 30, all of which are variants of the Airbus A320 family.

How does this incident impact Spirit’s overall flight cancellation rate?

Spirit Airlines has canceled more than 3,600 flights this year, amounting to 1.5% of its operational schedule. Despite the recent wave of cancellations, this rate is still lower than the 2% observed at Frontier Airlines, a similar low-cost carrier, and other rates recorded for JetBlue Airways and United Airlines.

What should passengers do in light of these cancellations?

Spirit Airlines advises its customers to check the status of their flight before heading to the airport to avoid any inconveniences.

Where have most of the cancellations occurred?

Nearly half of the cancellations were at Orlando International Airport in Florida, where Spirit Airlines is the second-largest service provider.

What is the FAA’s role in ensuring these planes are safe to fly again?

The FAA has stated that it will ensure the issues identified in the inspections are satisfactorily addressed before allowing the affected planes to re-enter service.

More about Spirit Airlines cancellations

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SteveJ October 21, 2023 - 7:56 am

Wow, can’t believe Spirit’s got so many cancellations. But better safe than sorry, right? gotta make sure those planes are ok to fly.

TracyM October 21, 2023 - 8:09 am

This is why i always avoid budget airlines for important trips. Just can’t trust ’em to keep to their schedules.

GaryH October 21, 2023 - 10:07 am

Interesting that their overall cancellation rate is still lower than Frontier. makes you think.

Nina_W October 21, 2023 - 12:02 pm

Well, at least they are checking for safety. Cracks in the airframe are no joke. Would rather they cancel than risk it.

SamK October 21, 2023 - 12:08 pm

Man, air travel just isn’t reliable these days. First it was COVID, now this? What’s next.

Linda_S October 21, 2023 - 1:15 pm

got caught in this mess at Orlando Airport. Seriously, half the cancellations there?! What a nightmare.

Mike87 October 21, 2023 - 1:36 pm

I’m not surprised, airlines always have issues. But why did Spirit keep the reason for inspection so hush-hush? Seems sketchy to me.

BenT October 21, 2023 - 5:11 pm

It’s good the FAA is stepping in. We need assurance that flying is safe, no cutting corners pls.

RachelZ October 21, 2023 - 6:00 pm

Curious how this will affect their stock price. They’ve already had a ton of cancellations this year.

VickyQ October 22, 2023 - 4:54 am

Not the first time this happens, won’t be the last. Just part of the risk of flying I guess.


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