FAA order doesn't affect Hawaiian and Aloha Air Cargo

Peter Forman
Peter Forman

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The hole in the fuselage of the Southwest Airlines jet was a foot wide and five feet long.

"People looked up and said, 'Oh, my God, you can see the sky," passenger David Mathias said.

The aircraft was a Boeing 737--300 series, a workhorse on short trips as is Hawaiian Airline's 717 that flies inter island.

But airline analyst Peter Forman said there's no comparison.

"That airplane that Hawaiian uses is actually an outgrowth of the Douglas DC-9. So it's really a completely different design for fuselage than the 737s," he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration's inspection order to inspect dozens of airplanes applies to Boeing 737-300s, 400s and 500s.

"We don't fly any models of the 737 which is subject to the inspection rule. We visually inspect our 717s before every flight," Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Keoni Wagner said.

Aloha Air Cargo does fly Boeing 737s. But company chief operating officer Patrick Rosa said the inspection order "does not affect 737-200 advance series which we fly inter island."

Forman said the Southwest scare also highlights the fact that newer planes are built better.

"We can see from the Southwest problems that even though when cracks do appear they don't expand catastrophically like they did on the older airplanes.  I think there's already an improvement over what we had decades ago," he said.

April 28 marks the 23rd anniversary of the Aloha Airlines disaster when an explosive decompression on flight 243 killed a flight attendant and seriously injured seven passengers..

The Southwest incident gives the airline industry another reason to take a close look at itself and especially at its older aircraft.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved