American Airlines could be facing more financial problems.
The Federal Aviation Administration is looking to charge the Fort Worth-based carrier with hefty fines for safety and maintenance violations. Bankruptcy court documents reveal that the FAA could seek up to a record $162 million from American’s parent company, AMR.
"In accordance with deadlines set by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the Federal Aviation Administration filed Proofs of Claim to protect the interests of U.S. taxpayers. The documents detail both proposed and potential Civil Penalties in connection with ongoing enforcement cases involving both American Airlines and American Eagle. Because these cases remain open, the FAA cannot discuss the details of the individual investigations," said the FAA in a statement Tuesday.
An investigation revealed the company knowingly violated safety and maintenance rules. The investigation reveals the FAA has serious concerns over American’s maintenance system with some of the alleged problems dating back to 2007.
The FAA said American failed to fix wiring issues between the engines and wings on the Boeing 757s and flew nearly 15,000 flights with passengers months after knowing about the problem.
Another proposed $28 million fine deals with landing gear and testing issues in 777s.
The penalties continue to add up after American continued to fly the Boeing 767s more than 2,000 times without making the required changes to the plane engine mounts and wing structures.
The company admitted between 2006 and 2008, they kept some of its DC-9 jets in service. The jets were used to fly passengers after the airline used the wrong fasteners to fix cracks in key structural parts of the planes.
American maintains it has never operated a plane that was unsafe for flight.
“Safety is fundamental to the success of American Airlines, and at no time did American operate an aircraft that was unsafe for flight. Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers, our people and our planes," said Bruce Hicks, AMR spokesperson.
The FAA would typically propose a penalty in these matters, and then the amount of the fine would be negotiated down -- a process that could take years.