ATLANTA -- An FAA directive to repair possible cracks in the airframes of the twin-engine Boeing 717 -- the backbone of the AirTran fleet -- may be delayed at least 90 days.
The order to repair the planes was expected any day, but Southwest Airlines, which owns AirTran and its 88 Boeing 717s has asked for another 90 days to adjust maintenance schedules and get sufficient parts.
Southwest says the planes are airworthy and safe, and it does not plan to ground the AirTran 717 fleet while it continues to inspect its aircraft.
The FAA says it is not issuing an emergency order which would have grounded all the 717 planes.
More than 125 Boeing 717 jets are in service at all air carriers. The FAA says they are not releasing the name of the carrier where the cracks were discovered.