American Airlines Facing Fine of $300K

FAA claims airline had a maintenance violation.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday it is proposing a $300,000 fine against American Airlines for a maintenance violation.

The FAA alleges that on February 2, 2009, American Airlines mechanics put off maintenance on a piece of equipment on one of its airplanes.

The FAA said mechanics noted problems with a dashboard light on a McDonnell Douglas MD-82, then discovered the next day that a part called a pitot probe heater wasn't working. Pitot probes measure an aircraft's speed and are equipped with heaters to prevent freezing up during flight.

The FAA says the plane should have been limited to daytime flying in good weather, but American used it on five flights in violation of federal rules.

"We expect full compliance with all of our maintenance standards," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "Safety is our top concern. Maintenance personnel must pay attention to every detail when they are working on an aircraft."

American Airlines spokesman Tim Wagner said, "We are reviewing the information, and, in accordance with FAA procedures for dealing with such notices, we will meet with the FAA to discuss their proposal. American Airlines is very proud of our safety record and our employees’ commitment to safety every day. Safety is fundamental to the American Airlines culture and to our success.”

American Airlines has 30 days to respond to FAA.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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