AIN says FAA is giving American Airlines and others fair warning with $24M fine

Two years ago, the FAA ordered American Airlines to comply with an airworthiness directive and repair faulty wiring harnesses on its fleet of MD-80s.

Following the federal inspection, on several incidents, where a handful of planes that still did not meet the requirement, the airline shut grounded all of the planes in its fleet, cancelling more than 300 flights.

In all, reports say, more than 90 percent of the 300 aircraft in question did not follow the directive.

The $24.2 million fine levied by the FAA last week will be the largest in the agency’s history if American pays it in full. However, the company challenges the ruling and such fines often are settled for lesser amounts.

 Now AIN’s David Lombardo says the message an aviation company can gain from this is that when the agency says to fix a problem, fix it. Or else.

“Essentially, American kept telling us the problem was fixed when it wasn’t,” an FAA spokesman told the magazine.

Read the entire analysis, including how the fine amount was derived and American’s response, at this link.