The Federal Aviation Administration is stepping up oversight of American Airlines after three botched landings by the carrier over 11 days, the Wall Street Journal reported. .
The latest incident, which prompted heightened FAA scrutiny of American’s operations, involved a jetliner whose wingtip struck the ground while landing in Austin, Texas, on Christmas Eve, the Journal said.
There were no injuries and the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft was inspected and returned to service. But the incident raised concern inside the FAA, people familiar with the matter told the Journal, because it followed two more-serious landing mistakes on aircraft operated by the AMR unit in December.
On Dec. 13, an American Boeing 737 ended up with a damaged wingtip after part of its main landing gear veered off the runway while touching down in low visibility in Charlotte, N.C.
In Kingston, Jamaica, on Dec. 22 another American Boeing 737 careened off the end of a runway while landing on the island amid heavy rain.
The jet’s fuselage broke into three sections, its crumpled nose slid to a halt barely feet from the shoreline and several people were hospitalized, but there were no fatalities.
NBC confirmed that the three events prompted FAA officials to start analyzing Fort Worth, Texas-based American’s data on landing incidents as well as voluntary pilot reports about such past occurrences.
"The FAA is concerned any time an air carrier is involved in an accident or incident," the agency said in a statement. "In situations where there may be several incidents involving a single carrier over a short period of time, FAA inspectors increase their oversight, which we're doing now, and conduct a review of those events to determine whether they might be indicative of a larger issue."