EMERY Worldwide Airlines suspends air carrier operations; FAA cites safety concerns

Monday, August 13th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Emery Worldwide Airlines suspended its air carrier operations Monday under an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration. The Washington Post said the FAA had found so many maintenance problems that it was preparing to ground the Emery fleet.

Emery's parent, CNF Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., said a separate unit, Emery Worldwide air freight company, will continue full-scale operations.

``There will be no interruption of freight service and Emery air freight will meet all of the day-to-day operating requirements of our customers, both in North America and around the world,'' said Chutta Ratnathicam, chief executive of Emery Worldwide.

CNF's statement did not address the maintenance issue.

The Post quoted FAA officials as saying they conducted four major inspections of the airline over the past 18 months and found numerous problems and discrepancies. Even with the increased attention, Emery reportedly failed to fix the problems and failed to properly oversee the work of its maintenance contractors.

A spokeswoman for the FAA confirmed that the agency had met with Emery officials, but would not say what was talked about, the Post said.

The FAA is looking into crashes of Emery aircraft that may have been caused by maintenance problems. The National Transportation Safety Board scheduled a hearing Monday into the crash of an Emery jet Feb. 16, 2000, near Sacramento, Calif., that killed the plane's three crewmen.

Ratnathicam said Emery Worldwide has arranged to serve North American customers with a fleet of planes operated by Ryan Aviation of Wichita, Kan.

CNF said it expects the airline to resume operations once issues raised by the FAA are resolved. In the meantime, up to 800 pilots, crew members and other administrative personnel will be furloughed while the airline is shut down.

Emery Worldwide air freight operates service centers in North America and has facilities in more than 200 countries. It operates a freight-sorting facility in Dayton, Ohio, which remains in business during the suspension, CNF said.