VALUJET AIRLINES is to slow its rapid growth for the next few months, citing increased US Federal Aviation Administration safety scrutiny following recent incidents. The low-cost carrier, based in Atlanta, Georgia, will add 13-14 aircraft during 1996, instead of the previously planned 18-24 aircraft.

The FAA conducted a seven-day "special-emphasis" programme at ValuJet in late February, and will maintain heightened scrutiny of the airline until the end of June. The safety review followed five incidents in January and February, consisting of three runway overruns, one landing-gear collapse and a tail-strike on landing.

ValuJet acknowledges that it needs to "...smooth out some rough edges" caused by its rapid growth, and is "taking a number of specific actions to improve its flight operations and maintenance programmes". The airline says the FAA review was prompted as much by its unprecedented growth as by the incidents.

The carrier will inaugurate new routes on 1 May, but will add no new services until August, after the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Its fleet will total 48 aircraft by 1 May, and will reach 54 by the end of 1996. The airline began operating in October 1993, with two McDonnell Douglas DC-9s.

Source: Flight International