FAA rates isle airlinesBy Christine Donnelly
in top Y2K safety group
Hawaii's main airlines are among the 91 percent of carriers nationwide free of problems that would keep them from meeting safety standards as the Year 2000 dawns, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Hawaiian Airlines, Aloha Airlines and affiliated company Island Air all received the best rating, with the FAA finding nothing related to the so-called "Y2K bug" that would affect the airlines compliance with FAA rules.
"We're very happy. We've put a lot of work into it and it's paid off," said Aloha Airlines spokeswoman Julie King.
Tom Browne of the Air Transport Association, which represents the leading U.S. airlines, said passengers should feel reassured about traveling over New Year's.
"In terms of the majority of the airlines that people fly on, the FAA has said that they are ready," he said. "There are a few -- very few -- that the FAA is working with to make sure they are ready."
Of 2,822 U.S. air carriers checked, 2,578 or about 91 percent, including the nation's 10 largest airlines, got the best Y2K-readiness rating, the FAA announced yesterday.
Another 209 carriers got the second-highest rating and the FAA is following up to see whether there are Y2K issues that might affect compliance. Twenty-seven of those carriers provide scheduled passenger or cargo service using aircraft with 10 seats or more; 182 provide charter, nonscheduled passenger service and do not use computer systems to meet federal safety standards.
Another 35 nonscheduled passenger carriers received the lowest rating, which means the FAA believes Y2K issues may affect compliance. Officials says those small carriers could be grounded or have flights canceled if they do not improve by the end of the year.
The complete list of airlines and rankings can be found on-line at http://www.dot.gov or http://www.faa.gov.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.