March 23rd, 2010
05:47 PM ET

FAA proposes $1.45 million fine against Northwest Airlines

Federal aviation regulators said Tuesday they are proposing a $1.45 million civil penalty against Northwest Airlines for operating nearly three dozen of its Boeing 757 planes without proper windshield wiring inspections.

A Federal Aviation Administration "airworthiness directive" for Boeing 757s requires inspections - and replacements if needed - for small wires in the heating system for both the captain and first officer's windows, the FAA said.

"Left uncorrected, the problem could cause overheating, smoking and possibly a fire," the FAA said. The directive was enacted in 1990.

Northwest Airlines' maintenance instructions for its mechanics did not include the directive for the first officer's window, the FAA said.

"As a result, 32 of the carrier's 757s flew more than 90,000 passenger flights between December 1, 2005, and May 27, 2008, while not in compliance with the airworthiness directive."

Northwest discovered the problem in May 2008 and revised its maintenance instructions, the FAA said. "However, the instructions did not require the work be performed before further flight, but at the next planned overnight layover."

As a result, the FAA said, 29 of the 32 planes flew while they were still "out of compliance" with the directive.

- CNN's Mike M. Ahlers contributed to this report.

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  1. Texan

    That does it for me, never again will I get on an airplane of any kind or size. My advice, do as Greyhond suggests :Take the bnus and leave the driving to them." It's also cheaper and you can see a lot more.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    Did any of these planes crash and burn? No. So why did they dredge this up two years after it happens? The only thing the FAA accomplished with this report is prove THEY are inept, completely unable to oversee anything. They are more than 10 years behind schedule on promised upgrades to the NAS. These upgrades would improve safety and efficiency at airports. Instead of punishing the FAA for its uselessness, let's fine the airlines when planes can't take off on time.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |