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. sanane

    I am glad AA got some sort of fine. They tortured me and a plane packed with people by sitting on the tarmac for three hours. No AC, no food. Trying babies, panting old people. What a hell!

    August 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobthebuilder

      Oh man that is terrible. Bring an ipod and stick a snickers in your purse next time.

      August 26, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GrumpyBearDC

    american is a ridiculous airline. they cancel flights right an left, and are usually the first ones to slap a fine on their passengers. they ought to be fined for the wiring issues on MD80, that's, like 90 per cent of their fleet.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Palin libertarian

    this is tortious interference of the government with useless regulations on an American business.
    Obama and his cronies need to go!

    August 26, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobthebuilder

      Um, Palin is not a libertarian, just FYI.

      August 26, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beasley

      I agree about Obama and his cronies, but "airworthiness directives" are serious. It's not like recommendations by Toyota that you change your cabin air filter every 3000 miles so they can make money. These are deemed to be serious flaws in the design or manufacture of the aircraft which need to be corrected. MD-80s are old planes, but still serivceable if maintained. American is the only arline left with a lot of these things, so it's a big number of planes.

      There is only one reason American did NOT do this – to save money. Therefore, the FAA should calculate how much American thought they would save by not doing this maintenance, including labor, materials cost and down-time for the aircraft, and multiply that number by 10. Or maybe a hundred. It should be enough to tell them that NOT doing the maintenance will cost them a lot more than doing it.

      August 26, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rich W

    Brian... you are an angry man

    August 26, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff

    Ray Lahood is an idiot. There are ALWAYS comprimises when it comes to safety. Cost/Weight/Complexity are important design cosiderations as well.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim

    Fly Southwest: Better service, no fees, lower prices!

    August 26, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beasley

      Or JetBlue. When Southwest and JetBlue can fill their planes, not charge bag fees and still have the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry, AND they are profitable, American and other money-losing operations need to wake up and smell the jet fuel.

      August 26, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jim T

    HEY PARROT, YOU NEED TO GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT ABOUT FAA INSPECTORS. I RETIRED FROM THE FAA AND I WAS AN MAINTENANCE INSPECTOR ASSIGNED TO AA ON THEIR 767'S. TO BE A MAINTENANCE INSPECTOR, YOU HAVE TO HAVE AN AIRFRAME AND POWERPLANT MECHANICS CERTIFICATE. THAT MEANS THAT I WENT TO SCHOOL FOR 3 YEARS TO QUALIFY TO TAKE THE MECHANICS TEST. IT TAKES A LITTLE MORE THAN A "TUG" DRIVER TO WORK FOR THE FAA. THERE A LOT OF GOOD INSPECTORS OUT THERE THAT DO A GREAT JOB. YOU NEED TO DO SOME RESEARCH BEFORE YOU MOUTH OFF ABOUT SOMETHING THAT YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. BY THE WAY, AA DESERVERED THE FINE. AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES ARE SERIOUS AND SHOULD BE COMPLIED WITH.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beasley

      The Caps Lock key is on the left side of your keyboard, just above the Shift key. Learn to turn it off.

      August 26, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Terry from West Texas

    Here is an example of a scofflaw corporation that had to be disciplined by government. AA certainly knew of the misbehavior because the FAA notified them of the requirement. AA apparently decided to simply ignore the FAA, like we citizens decide to ignore speed limit laws.

    If AA was left to its own internal controls, they would neglect safety maintenance routinely. We see that they ignore safety even when instructed to perform certain checks on pain of fine. Like many businesses, perhaps they have decided it's cheaper to pay the fine than to comply with the law.

    AA is a poster child for government regulation of corporate behavior. We can't trust corporate management to do the right thing.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. aviace

    This is how it works. The Feds announce a huge fine and make the public think they are punishing the carrier. The airline goes and negotiates the fine with the Feds and they may wind up paying $1M or maybe less. It happens all the time, I used to negotiate them.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Russell

    Maintenance has everything to do with money! Aircraft parts are very expensive and must bear a proper certification before a part can be installed on any aircraft. The airlines look at aircraft no different than a bus or taxi. The only way they can make money is to keep their fleet flying. An aircrft on the ground does not bring any income in. Who do you think is the watch dog over the safety of airlines? The FAA and there rules when broke bring heavy fines and these fines lead to proper maintenance. If the FAA were not looking over their shoulder there would be more smoking holes and many dead bodies. Don't think for a minute the executives care about you safety, they dont its the bottom line that matters and when accidents happen their inurance pays and they go about ther routine. I had perscription medications stolen out of my checked baggage flying US Airways you know what they said? Sinci I didn't notify them within 10 days I was SOL. They do not care if someone that works for them steals controlled drugs or any thing else.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    American is so busy spending time and effort to raise various fees, how can they be expected to keep their aircraft inspected too? Jeesh, give 'em a break ! 😀

    August 26, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bubba

    AA's 12 step program works for me anyway.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Wally

    Fine them back into the stone age. Oh wait no! They might quit and get into the egg business. Americans have really been getting baet up by big business recently.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anonymous Coward

    Late to the game here, but they should take the fines levied against safety deficient carriers and just hand it over to the airline(s) judged to be safest/best maintained. Of course it'll all be one big airline in a couple of years, so that won't work...

    August 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Wally

    beat up

    August 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
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