Friday, August 27, 2010

FAA Hits AA With Record Penalty

The Federal Aviation Administration announced yesterday that it has proposed a record $24.2 million fine against American Airlines "for failing to correctly follow an Airworthiness Directive involving the maintenance of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft."  The press release went on to state:

“We put rules and regulations in place to keep the flying public safe,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We expect operators to perform inspections and conduct regular and required maintenance in order to prevent safety issues. There can be no compromises when it comes to safety.”

The FAA alleges American did not follow steps outlined in a 2006 Airworthiness Directive requiring operators to inspect wire bundles located in the wheel wells of MD-80 aircraft. The Airworthiness Directive, AD 2006-15-15, required a one-time general visual inspection by March 5, 2008 for chafing or signs of arcing of the wire bundle for the auxiliary hydraulic pump. It also required operators to perform corrective actions in accordance with the instructions of the applicable manufacturer’s Service Bulletin.

. . .

The FAA subsequently determined that 286 of the airline’s MD-80s were operated on a combined 14,278 passenger flights while the aircraft were not in compliance with Federal Regulations. American ultimately completed the work required by the 2006 Airworthiness Directive.

See Press Release, FAA, FAA Proposes Civil Penalty Against American Airlines (Aug. 26, 2010) (available here).

According to the Dallas Morning News, American intends to appeal the fine.  See Eric Torbenson & Terry Maxon, American to Fight $24.2M FAA Fine, Dallas Morning News, Aug. 27, 2010 (available here).

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