FAA Plans to Fine American Airlines $787,000

Irargerich, flickr

Last Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed $787,500 in maintenance violation fines against American Airlines.

According to an FAA press release from March 12th, the fines stem from a series of three penalties that began two years ago and affected 13 passenger flights.

The FAA is proposing a huge civil penalty of $625,000 for a single case that occurred in April 2008. In this incident, the FAA is alleging that American Airlines mechanics diagnosed a problem with a Central Air Data Computer, improperly deferred the maintenance, and then flew the McDonnell Douglas MD-82 jetliner on 10 passenger flights before replacing the computer.

In the second case from March 2008, the FAA found American Airlines "failed to correctly follow an Airworthiness Directive involving the inspection of rudder components on a certain Boeing 757 aircraft." The FAA is seeking a penalty of $75,000 for this case, where two 757s that did not comply with FAA standards were flown on three passenger flights.

The final case, from May 2009, results from a logbook error. An MD-82 was returned to service and flew on two passenger flights after several steps of a maintenance visit had not been checked off as completed, and the airline replace a landing gear door without noting the maintenance in the logbook. The FAA is proposing these discrepancies cost American Airlines $87,500.

According to a report by CNN from March 12th, American Airlines is standing by its safety record. "AA is the only U.S. airline that continues to handle the majority of its heavy maintenance with in-house, FAA certificated mechanics that have met and passed all FAA experience requirements, written tests, and practical examinations," said the airline in a statement.

According to the FAA, American Airlines has 30 days to respond to the proposed fines.
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