FAA Grounds Transair Following Hawaii Ocean Ditching

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has grounded the Hawaiian cargo airline Transair. While it comes after one of its aircraft was forced to ditch in the ocean near Honolulu’s International Airport, the FAA told Simple Flying that the action was unrelated to the ongoing investigation into the accident.

Transair, Rhoades Aviation, Grounded
The FAA has grounded Transair following an investigation ongoing since last fall. Photo: Getty Images

After an airline has a significant accident, it is typical for aviation authorities to take a close look at the airline. However, it seems as though Transair has been in the FAA’s sights for some time. As of last night, the airline’s remaining operational Boeing 737-200 is now grounded.

What’s behind the grounding?

It wouldn’t be totally unexpected to think that the FAA had grounded Transair due to the ditching on July 2nd. However, the FAA told Simple Flying that this was not the case. According to the FAA, it has been investigating Rhoads Aviation, who operate Transair, since last fall.

The agency told us that it had warned Rhoades Aviation of an intention to stop the airline from completing its own maintenance inspections following the FAA’s investigation. As the airline didn’t ask the FAA to reconsider within 30 days, the action is going ahead.

Last night, the FAA told Rhoades Aviation that it wouldn’t be able to conduct its own maintenance inspections from midnight local time. This, in turn, means that the airline cannot legally operate, as the inspection authorization is required for operations. The decision will now not be reviewed until the airline complies with the FAA’s regulations.

Aircraft fuselage
The action is unrelated to this month’s crash. Photo: NTSB

One operational aircraft

According to the FAA, Rhoades Aviation only had one operational Boeing 737-200. ch-aviation.com lists this aircraft as N809TA, a 34-year-old Boeing 737-200 freighter that was initially delivered to China Airlines way back in 1987. According to the aviation data portal, the airline has another Boeing 737-200 Freighter registered as N737CS. This aircraft has been listed as in maintenance in Taiwan.

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What happened on July 2nd

While it was unrelated to the FAA’s action, Transair is also being investigated as part of the investigation into the ditching of N810TA earlier this month. On July 2nd, the plane crashed into the ocean near Honolulu after both engines apparently failed.

Boeing 737
The aircraft was broken into two during the incident. Photo: NTSB

Both of the pilots survived the incident and were rescued by the coastguard. However, the aircraft wasn’t so lucky. A week ago, the NTSB released footage of the aircraft on the seafloor. The aircraft had clearly split into two just in front of the wings, although it still remains to be seen how exactly this occurred. The NTSB is now seeking to recover the wreckage and the black boxes.

What do you make of the FAA’s decision to ground Transair? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!