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Valujet’s Return To Skies Upsets Families

Sun., Sept. 29, 1996, midnight

As ValuJet prepares to return to the skies, the airline’s celebratory mood and unanswered questions about the Everglades crash don’t sit well with some relatives of those who died.

“I saw a TV clip a while back with (ValuJet president) Lewis Jordan and a lot of people cheering him, and it kind of hit me wrong,” said Roger McNitt of Rome, Ga., who lost five relatives in the crash.

“I hate that the employees have been out of work and all, but my brother lost a lot more than a job. It’s still shocking. You wake up every morning and just don’t believe it.”

A month after ValuJet Flight 592 crashed May 11 in Florida, killing all 110 people aboard, federal regulators grounded the airline because of questions about its maintenance operations.

The Transportation Department returned ValuJet’s certificate last week, and the Atlanta-based carrier plans to resume flying at 12:30 p.m. Monday.

On Friday, the flight attendants’ union filed an emergency petition asking a federal appeals court to block ValuJet’s return, contending the airlines is unsafe. It wasn’t immediately clear when the court might act.

ValuJet blames the crash, believed to be caused by a fire in a cargo area, on the actions of a maintenance contractor. The crash remains under investigation. xxxx

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