August 26th, 2010
02:15 PM ET

FAA proposes record civil fine against American Airlines

The FAA has proposed a $24 million fine against American Airlines, which would be the largest civil penalty in the agency's history.

The FAA said the fine was because of American Airlines' "failing to correctly follow an Airworthiness Directive involving the maintenance of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft."

“We put rules and regulations in place to keep the flying public safe,”  U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a press release. “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.”

soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Max

    AA executives are gambling with YOUR life. Why can't they charged with endangering the public and fined?

    August 26, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scary

    A fee isn't the right answer because they will pass that on to the public with rate increases as already stated in this blog. The right answer would be to ground the planes and force them to cancel flights. That way the airline is losing revenue in a less deterministic way and makes it harder for them to recover the expense. Also, what good does a fine do with respect to the safety of the plane itself.... Nothing

    August 26, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bobthebuilder

    Aww c'mon, MD-80s are the tanks of the skies. Maintenance optional.

    August 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MARK

    Hey folks... these are MD-80 aircraft involved. These old birds are 20-30 years old and American wasnt doing proper maintainence on them. AA shouldnt even be flying old buckets like these. And yes, Chairman Gerard J. Arpey, there should be some heads roll on this- if not your own.

    August 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. saly

    Fine alone doesn't fix the problem. It needs to be followed up to make sure the problem is fixed. That's where it went wrong with the recent egg contamination problem. It was cheaper for the farm owner just to keep paying the fine than to fix the violation.

    August 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JLinMiami

    those are old planes. They should be scrapped by now. No airline should fly planes older than 20 years. Junk in the air !

    August 26, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texas Pete

      You obviously know nothing about planes then. How old do you think most of the cargo planes flown by the Air Force are? Some airframes, like the C-17 are pretty recent, but there are a lot of older C-5s, and C-130s. Heck even a lot of the F-16s are up there in years. If you have good maintenance, there is no reason a plane can't be fully airworthy and safe even after 50 years.

      August 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zippity Doo Dah

      I disagree. We have B-52's that are 60 years old and still flying today. A properly maintained aircaft will fly forever no matter how old it is.

      August 26, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobthebuilder

      MD-80/DC-9's have an excellent track record for safety and actually allow the pilot to control the aircraft when necessary.

      August 26, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Richard Drew

    Msny of you have good points. We pay American Airlines or we don't. Choose another safer carrier, if there actually are any. This will get American Airlines' s attention and they can fix plus appeal the fine. If there were no regulations do you really think American or any other carrier would step up and put safety first? No because that's what insurance is for. Kill some folks let the insurance company pay and other customers will avoid that carrier when it comes out that the reason for death was because no one inspected and fixed the defect before.

    August 26, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nathan

    LOL @ Roberto.

    August 26, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |


    August 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobthebuilder

      Geez PARROT if you're going to come on here an post nonsense at least try to make it somewhat comical. We all know the FAA is former airline industry folks.

      August 26, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Richard R

    Of course, this fine will be passed on to the flying public. That's what businesses do.

    The problem is it's difficult to get corporations to comply with regulations otherwise. Perhaps the laws should be changed to make individuals in business management more responsible for these sort of things. Perhaps fine the CEO and General Manger, and also freeze their salaries for 5 years so the company doesn't end up just reimbursing the fines.

    Something like that would sure get those in management to pay more attention to safety regulations and make sure things were done right.

    August 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tom Jones Jr

    As to the airline fee's; given today's technology in the ability to communicate (personally & professionally) while staying at home, in the office, or at your favorite park; the best message we can send to all of the airlines is for the American Public to refuse to fly (for a week would be FANTASTIC – but unfortunately not very realistic); but at least two days, with the message that if they, the airlines, keeps screwing with the travelling public, we will do it again, once a month, until the airlines drop the "greed" part of their business and look for an "honest profit" based on a quality service.

    Otherwise, let's give Amtrak and the high speed Intercontinental Trains the chance they deserve and let the airlines fall out of the sky, from a business point of view.

    This does not mean not shipping cargo – they are still a fairly (not completely) honest business.

    Food for thought!?

    August 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. coral

    I agree with James.

    August 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Zippity Doo Dah

    AA will just past the cost on to the consumer or go bankrupt.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim W.

    Uh oh ... there goes the peanuts and pretzels ... but then again there were too few of either of them to be missed anyway.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Texas Pete

    Forget sending a fine to AA, if this was sent out regarding a safety issue on the MD-80 and AA has not fixed it in a reasonable time, ground all AA MD-80 aircraft until it is fixed. That will motivate AA a lot more then a simple fine (where they just pass the costs to those who buy tickets).

    August 26, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
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