Local News

Spring Break Turns to Spring Bust

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RALEIGH — Cancun, Mexico would seem an idyllic place inwhich to be stranded, but a lot of college students -- many from NorthCarolina -- are singing "Show Me the Way to Go Home."

Their spring break travel plans initially were marred when a touroperator's chartered plane did not show up at Raleigh-DurhamInternational Airport a week ago; now the FAA has stepped in to pull thatairline's operating certificate. The FAA issued an emergency suspensionon Friday, which was effective immediately.

When and how the students now in Cancun can make it back to theircampuses is up for debate.

The suspension, which cited 33 violations, covered safety, maintenance,and flight attendant training and competence. Among the specifics: flyingwithout radar near thunderstorms, flying with low engine oil and flyingwith a cracked cockpit windshield.

Last weekend, more than 100 students on spring break found their travelplans brought to a halt at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, where theblame bounced between the tour operator, Take-A-Break, and AvAtlantic,a charter airline headquartered in Savannah, Ga.

After spending a couple days sleeping and eating at the airport, thestudents finally left for Cancun Tuesday. On Friday, they learned thatgetting back home will be just as much of a challenge, due to the FAAaction. The kids could be stranded for another few days.

AvAtlantic officials have not returned phone calls.


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