FORT WORTH, TX (August 14, 2008) – American Airlines issued the following statement about the proposed fines announced today by the FAA:
American Airlines recently received individual notices of the proposed civil penalties from the FAA. We do not agree with the FAA’s findings and characterizations of American’s action in these cases. We believe the proposed penalties are excessive.
In accordance with FAA procedures for handling these matters we have requested to meet with the FAA after we have had time to thoroughly review their findings, so that we may discuss the issues. Since these matters are ongoing with the FAA, we will not have any further comment at this time.
In an article by cnn.com, it was revealed that federal regulators will seek fines totaling $7.1 million against the airlines over maintenance issues and problems with its drug- and alcohol-testing programs.
The FAA said in a statement, “The FAA believes the large total amount of the fine for these violations is appropriate because American Airlines was aware that appropriate repairs were needed, and instead deferred maintenance. In intentionally continuing to fly the aircraft, the carrier did not follow important safety regulations intended to protect passengers and crew.”
American continued to operate two MD-83 jetliners in December 2007 even though pilots reported problems with the autopilot systems. These incidents represent $4.5 million of the proposed fines. In both instances, although the mechanics correctly diagnosed the problems, the airline use the wrong provisions of its minimum equipment list to have the planes returned to service.
Regulators also accused the airlines of operating planes without timely inspections of their emergency lighting systems and for “past deficiencies” regarding drug and alcohol testing of its employees.