Court says FAA exceeded authority in DC-10 ban

The Federal Aviation Administration had no authority to ground foreign-registered DC-10 airliners for five weeks after a 1979 crash in Chicago that killed 273 people, a federal appeals court has declared.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled the FAA acted illegally in temporarily prohibiting flights by foreign-operated DC-10s within US airspace.

The panel found the international agreement covering such emergencies "permits a country to safeguard its airspace when entry by all aircraft would be dangerous or intrusive because of conditions on the ground." But it "does not allow one country to ban landing and takeoff because of doubts about the airworthiness of particular foreign aircraft."

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