American Airlines May Face Largest Fine Ever From FAA Over Safety Violations

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Paul J. Hedlund

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  • Free initial consultation, Fixed fees available

Senior Partner at firm Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, P.C.

Serving Los Angeles, CA

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Several cases against AMR Corp’s American Airlines could lead to as much as
$162.4 million in fines against the airline by the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) for violating safety regulations, according to a an August
2012 bankruptcy court filing. FAA officials said they found 36 situations in
which American Airlines was in violation of safety regulations, such as failing
to perform necessary repairs to aircraft and allowing aircraft to be put back
into service with faulty equipment.

The largest claim calls for a $39.3 million fine against the airline over
failing to repair some Boeing 757’s in their fleet in 2009. Inspectors with the
FAA found that out of 124 of the airline’s Boeing 757’s, only three received
the correct repairs to fix faulty wiring near the engine. The filings state
that there was a total of 1,480 passenger flights made on these aircraft with
faulty repairs.

The FAA will also seek $27.6 million in fines after discovering that in 2008,
Boeing did not make proper repairs to engines on some 767’s in American’s
fleet. Boeing brought this to the attention of American, but the airline made
over 2,000 flights on the 767’s anyway.

Another claim for $24.2 million against American will be sought due to a series
of maintenance issues in 2010 that grounded some Boeing MD-80’s in the
airline’s fleet. Roughly 360,000 passengers were stranded in April 2008 after
American was forced to cancel 3,300 flights over the course of five days to
correctly inspect and repair the MD-80’s. The Boeing MD-80 makes up nearly half
of American’s entire fleet.

“Inspection
and preventive maintenance are the backbone of aviation safety,” said
Ron Goldman
, pilot and lead aviation accident
attorney at the national aviation law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei &
Goldman. “To compromise safety is to threaten the lives of passengers. American
Airlines’ massive failure to perform mandatory maintenance and conduct required inspections should alert the
public to consider alternate transportation until we can rest assured that they
are in complete compliance with all FAA mandated inspections and maintenance on
all their aircraft,” Mr. Goldman said. “Proclamations of safety by the airline
are not a substitute for compliance.”

According
to Businessweek
, the FAA claims against American Airlines total some $156.5
million, with claims against American Eagle reaching $5.3 million. The FAA will
also seek $629,500 from AMR’s Executive Airline, and $17,875 from Eagle
Aviation Services. 

Proclamations of safety by American Airlines are not a substitute for compliance.

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