FLORIDA- Spirit Airlines (NK) abruptly canceled approximately 100 flights on Friday (October 20, 2023) due to the temporary removal of certain aircraft for inspections, with expectations of ongoing disruptions for several days.
Although the airline did not provide specifics regarding the inspections and did not respond to inquiries for further information, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) disclosed that the inspections were related to brackets on the airframes of the planes.
Spirit Airlines Grounds Aircraft, Cancels Flights
By late Friday afternoon, Spirit had canceled a significant 11% of its scheduled flights for the day, marking the highest proportion of canceled flights among major U.S. carriers, as reported by the flight tracking service FlightAware.
In a statement, Spirit Airlines explained, “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 on our network is expected to persist for several days as we carry out the inspections and endeavor to return to normal operations.”
The FAA acknowledged Spirit’s action to temporarily remove planes from service for a “mandatory maintenance inspection.”
These inspections are mandated to identify any indications of cracking around the fasteners used to secure pressure panels to the beams on the aircraft’s airframes, as outlined in an FAA document.
Undetected cracks in these areas could result in diminished structural integrity and potentially lead to a rapid decompression of the airplane, as detailed in the document.
It’s important to note that the risk of fatigue cracks in the frames of aircraft has been well-documented for an extended period.
The inspections being conducted by Spirit align with requirements from both European and U.S. regulators and were most recently updated by the FAA in 2018.
All Airbus Operator
The FAA stated that it will ensure the matter is addressed and resolved before the affected Spirit planes are cleared for return to service.
Spirit Airlines had a fleet of 198 planes as of June 30, all belonging to the Airbus A320 family, as per the company’s regulatory filing.
The airline advised passengers to verify the status of their flights prior to heading to the airport.
Approximately half of the canceled Spirit flights were concentrated at Orlando International Airport in Florida, where Spirit holds the position of the second-largest carrier.
Spirit Airlines, headquartered in Miramar, Florida, has encountered more than 3,600 flight cancellations this year, which amounts to 1.5% of its total flight schedule.
Stay tuned with us. Further, follow us on social media for the latest updates.