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US Airways, United Facing FAA Safety Fines

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 11:00 PM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: United Airlines, US Airways, Federal Aviation Administration, Safety Violations

United and US Airways are facing more than $9 million in FAA fines for safety violations

Safety Concerns

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IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ United Boeing 737/ author: Pacman

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing fines against two of the nation’s largest airlines, US Airways and United Airlines for safety violations.

The fines total more than $9 million for failing to ensure the airplanes met safety standards for airworthiness. The FAA issues Airworthiness Directives or ADs when it discovers a potentially unsafe condition, reports CNN, which were allegedly not followed-up with inspections.

Both airlines assured the traveling public Wednesday of their commitment to safety.

The fines are for unrelated problems.

The US Airways safety violations cover the greatest number of planes, eight in all.

The FAA wanted the airlines to inspect the Airbus A320 for possible cracking of landing gear. Instead US Airways operated eight aircraft a total of 1,647 flights without following the inspection order.

The FAA warned of a possible problem on the Embraer 190 with a cargo door that could possibly open during a flight. US Airways operated 19 flights without doing the inspection.

US Airways blames the error on its merging with America West maintenance operations two years ago. Five other cases involved a failure to follow airline maintenance procedures.

A United Airlines Boeing 737, during a flight from Denver in April 2008, experienced low fuel pressure. The pilot shut down the engine and returned to Denver where mechanics found two shop towels used to cover openings in the oil sump area where there were supposed to be protective caps.

That aircraft had flown more than 200 times under that condition.

Both airlines can take up to 30 days to respond to the proposed fines, which total $5.4 million for US Airways and $3.8 million for United Airlines and are the highest fines in FAA history measured per aircraft.

US Airways reminds the public on its Web site that Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who piloted flight 1549 safely landing on the Hudson River during an emergency last January, is returning to work in his new role as management pilot. #


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