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More delays seen for ValuJet

ValuJet grounded

August 21, 1996
Web posted at: 11:30 p.m. EDT

ATLANTA (CNN) -- ValuJet Airlines won't be airborne by its target date this Friday, and the beleaguered company must confront a new challenge from its flight attendants union that questions the competence of its management.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is unlikely to approve ValuJet's application for recertification by August 23, when the company said it hoped to begin service, said Bill Mosley, a spokesman for the government agency.

Federal regulators grounded ValuJet two months ago due to concerns about its flight safety. That action followed the May 11 crash of ValuJet Flight 592 in the Florida Everglades, which killed all 110 on board.

ValuJet has completed most of the requirements to gain recertification, sources told CNN. But before the airline is deemed fit to fly again, it must it must pass a "show cause" procedure, in which the process is opened to public comment. That typically takes 15 days, although it can go forward more quickly under certain circumstances.

"It's not going to happen now. We can't resume until we get the final okay from those agencies," said ValuJet spokesman Gregg Kenyon.

Lewis Jordan

Complaints by the flight attendants could also delay ValuJet's relaunch. Mosley said the FAA is reviewing charges that Lewis Jordan and Robert Priddy, ValuJet's president and chairman, respectively, are incompetent.

"We think they are a danger to public safety," said David Borer, general counsel to the flight attendants union.

ValuJet Wednesday conducted "proving runs," or flight tests, as part of the recertification process. It has also begun to retrain workers laid off when the airline was grounded.

"It's like we are sitting at a traffic light waiting for it to turn green," said a spokeswoman for the airline.

ValuJet plans to begin flying again with seven aircraft serving five cities, Kenyon said.


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