ValuJet Plans Return to Sky
ATLANTA (AP) _ ValuJet Airlines is preparing ads for the airwaves in expectation of its return to the airways and said Tuesday its happy cartoon mascot won’t be grounded.
President Lewis Jordan said he was told ValuJet’s logo of a smiling plane with eyes was inappropriate since one of the airline’s flights crashed in the Everglades in May.
But the critter stays, Jordan said.
``When ... an expert said that the critter, the logo, had to go, our phone lines began to ring off the hook with people saying, `Don’t you dare consider that. Your fun and friendly image is something we’ve enjoyed,‴ Jordan told the Atlanta Press Club.
The airline was grounded in June because of concerns over its maintenance procedures. The airline had been under regulators’ scrutiny since last year for a series of incidents including planes sliding off runways and a fire.
The crash, which killed 110, is thought to have been caused by a fire originating in a cargo of chemical oxygen generators. ValuJet was not authorized to carry the generators and blamed a subcontractor for mislabeling them as empty.
The airline, at present banned from advertising, received tentative approval last month from the federal Department of Transportation to resume flying. ValuJet said ads being prepared in anticipation of its return will not mention the crash or address safety issues.
The DOT has set no timetable for its final decision, and a department spokesman refused to say Tuesday when it would rule.
There are some who do not want to see the airline make a comeback just yet.
``ValuJet was a disaster waiting to happen, and if allowed to return to the air with current management will continue to be,″ the sister and brother of Terri Bell, a crash victim, wrote to the DOT in one objection.
The Association of Flight Attendants union also has urged DOT not to allow the airline to fly and recommended the ouster of Jordan and ValuJet Chairman Robert Priddy.
ValuJet offered its regrets to grieving relatives, but said none of the objections merit further review.