American Airlines has been slapped with $1,087,500 in penalties from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for federal maintenance violations aboard certain aircrafts.
Following a thorough inspection by the FAA, it was found that the airline’s failure to uphold mandated maintenance of its jets posed potential aviation safety hazards to both crewmembers and passengers.
According to federal regulators, “American Airlines maintenance workers failed to properly document a malfunctioning speed indicator on an MD-82 jet in February 2009”.
Reports noted that on February 2, 2009, American Airlines maintenance crews found the pitot tube warning light to be defective and subsequently delayed repairs in accordance with approved procedures. However, the pitot tube light was not defective, having warned the flight crews that the pitot tube heater itself was malfunctioning.
As per reports, the American Airlines aircraft made a total of five flights, in spite of the fact that the pitot tube heater was not working properly. Planes are outfitted with pitot tube heaters as a means of preventing the pitot tube, which measures the aircraft’s airspeed, from freezing and producing incorrect speed readings.
According to reports, a frozen pitot tube may have been the cause of the Air France Flight 447 crash, which killed 216 passenger and 12 crewmembers on June 1, 2009.
According to American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith, “Safety is a fundamental to the American Airlines culture and to our success… American is the only U.S. airline that continues to handle the majority of its heavy maintenance with in-house, FAA-certified mechanics that have met and passed all FAA experience requirements, written tests, and practical examinations.”
The airliner has 30 days to contest the FAA’s findings and proposed penalties.
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