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FAA Hits AA With Record Fine

August 27, 2010 By: George Dooley

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed a $24.2 million civil penalty against American Airlines for failing to correctly follow a 2006 Airworthiness Directive involving the maintenance of its  McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft. The civil penalty is the largest ever proposed by the FAA.

“We put rules and regulations in place to keep the flying public safe,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We expect operators to perform inspections and conduct regular and required maintenance in order to prevent safety issues. There can be no compromises when it comes to safety.”

The FAA alleges American did not follow steps outlined in a 2006 Airworthiness Directive requiring operators to inspect wire bundles located in the wheel wells of MD-80 aircraft. The Airworthiness Directive, AD 2006-15-15, required a one-time general visual inspection by March 5, 2008 for chafing or signs of arcing of the wire bundle for the auxiliary hydraulic pump. It also required operators to perform corrective actions in accordance with the instructions of the applicable manufacturer’s Service Bulletin.

Over the last year and a half, FAA safety officials reported progress in working with American Airlines to help improve the airline’s maintenance culture. The FAA said it is committed to continuing that work.

American has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.

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