Airlines make Y2K progress

The Transportation Department today announced that the ground-based systems used by the nation's major airlines have no Year 2000 problems that would prevent them from complying with safety standards, but some smaller carriers still have work to do.

The Federal Aviation Administration found that the 10 largest airlines, which handle about 95 percent of domestic passengers, had "no Y2K issues that would affect their compliance with federal safety standards," and the FAA gave them the highest rating—a "one."

The information has been posted at www.fly2k.dot.gov.

The FAA looked at ground-based systems such as those used for flight crew scheduling, pilot training and record-keeping. The onboard systems, such as those that handle flight and navigation, do not process the year date and so are already Year 2000-compliant, according to the FAA.

Meanwhile, 27 out of the other 173 passenger and cargo airlines that provide scheduled flights nationwide received a "two" rating. This means the FAA is following up with the airline to determine whether there are Year 2000 date code issues that would affect regulatory compliance.

Of the 2,639 smaller carriers that do not offer scheduled flights but operate on an on-demand basis, 182 received a "two" rating and 35 received a "three" rating. A "three" rating means that Year 2000 issues may impact the airline's compliance with FAA rules.

The FAA plans to post inspectors at the operations and maintenance centers of the top 10 carriers and at other undetermined carriers Dec. 30 to Jan. 7. The FAA said it is prepared to take "enforcement action" if a carrier cannot demonstrate continued regulatory compliance.

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