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American Airlines faces record fine

American Airlines faces record fine

by Terri Gruca

Bio | Email | Follow: @TerriG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on August 26, 2010 at 11:19 PM

The Federal Aviation Administration has slapped American Airlines with a record $24.2 million dollar fine for flying jets with potentially dangerous wiring.

According to the FAA, the Dallas based carrier, did not fully comply with a 2006 directive to upgrade wiring in the compartment where the landing gear is stored in its fleet of MD-80 jets. Records show 286 planes flew 14,278 times even though the wiring hadn’t been fixed.

This would be the biggest fine ever for the FAA. Before now the highest fine ever collected by the agency was when Southwest Airlines was fined $10.2 million in 2008 for flying jets without mandatory inspections for structural damage. Southwest managed to get the fine knocked down to $7.5 million.

Reports from the FAA detail the following account about the American Airlines issues:

“The FAA first detected the violations on March 25, 2008, during an inspection of two aircraft. The FAA informed American’s management that the aircraft did not comply with the AD, prompting a series of re-inspections and additional maintenance work that occurred during the following two weeks. On March 26, after American performed additional maintenance on its MD-80 fleet, the FAA inspected eight aircraft at American’s Tulsa maintenance base and found that seven did not comply with the Airworthiness Directive. On April 7, the FAA inspected another nine MD-80 aircraft at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and found that eight of them still did not comply with the AD. A tenth aircraft inspected by American mechanics also did not comply. On April 8, American began grounding its MD-80 fleet to conduct new inspections and redo work as necessary.”

American Airlines now has 30 days to respond.

The FAA doesn't take these air worthiness directives lightly. They issue hundreds of them each year. You can check them out for yourself here.  

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