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Airline Industry

FAA adds $300,000 in new penalties againt American Airlines

Mar 18, 2010

DALLAS — Federal regulators have hit American Airlines with $300,000 in new penalties over maintenance issues.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday American's mechanics put off maintenance last year on a part designed to ensure that pilots get accurate readings on speed.

The FAA said mechanics noted problems with a dashboard light on a McDonnell Douglas MD-82, then discovered the next day that a part called a pitot probe heater wasn't working.

Pitot probes measure an aircraft's speed and are equipped with heaters to prevent freezing up during flight. The FAA says the plane should have been limited to daytime flying in good weather, but American used it on five flights in violation of federal rules.

The airline has 30 days to appeal.

American Airlines spokesman Tim Wagner said the company was reviewing the case and planned to meet with FAA officials to discuss the proposed penalty. He said American was very proud of its safety record.

Last week, the FAA proposed $787,500 in penalties against American for three separate maintenance incidents. The airline said it was appealing those fines.

In 2008, the FAA accused American of several cases of improper maintenance including flying planes with broken autopilot systems. The FAA proposed a $7.1 million fine, which American is still contesting.

The FAA is expected to soon announce penalties that could run into the millions of dollars for wiring work on American's MD-80 series aircraft. American canceled more than 3,000 flights in 2008 to fix the way wiring was secured to the planes.

American's regional division, American Eagle, has been hit with $5.4 million in proposed FAA fines this year over maintenance work.

Both airlines are owned by AMR Corp., headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.

FAA adds $300,000 in new penalties againt American Airlines
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Source: AP

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