Says Airlines Flew Hundreds Of Flights With Aircraft
Not In Compliance With AD's, Maintenance Procedures
The FAA has proposed a $5.4 million
civil penalty against US Airways, Inc. for allegedly operating
eight aircraft on a total of 1,647 flights from October 2008 to
January 2009 while not in compliance with certain Airworthiness
Directives (ADs) or the airline's maintenance program. ADs are
rules issued by the FAA when an unsafe condition exists on a type
of aircraft, and additional maintenance is required to remedy the
Each year the FAA issues about 250 ADs requiring air carriers to
correct potentially unsafe conditions. Compliance deadlines range
from immediate action before further flight, to days, months, or
years depending on the severity and complexity of the safety issue.
Air carriers must fully comply with all of these legally
The FAA found the following AD non-compliance issues:
- US Airways, Inc. operated one Embraer 190 aircraft on 19
flights from October 22, 2008 to October 26, 2008 while the
aircraft was not in compliance with an AD that required inspections
to prevent a cargo door from opening during flight.
- The airline failed to perform inspections required by an AD for
cracking of a landing gear part on one Airbus A320. The airline
operated the aircraft on 26 flights from November 2, 2008 to
January 20, 2009 while not in compliance with the AD. The airline
also operated another A320 for 17 flights from December 3, 2008 to
January 21, 2009 while not in compliance with the same AD.
The FAA found the following problems with maintenance
- US Airways, Inc. failed to meet the requirements of its
Maintenance Policies and Procedures Manual, which required
inspections related to engine work on a Boeing 757 aircraft. The
airplane was flown on 505 flights from May 2, 2008 to December 3,
- From October 20, 2008 to November 14, 2008, US Airways, Inc.
operated one Boeing 767 aircraft on 51 flights after failing to
perform the inspections, tests, and samplings required by its
maintenance program on that aircraft.
- From October 1, 2008 to November 24, 2008, US Airways, Inc.
operated one Boeing 757 aircraft on 121 flights without proper
- The airline failed to follow its maintenance program and
perform a weekly maintenance check for one Boeing 767 aircraft,
which was then operated from November 2, 2008 to November 6, 2008
on 53 flights.
- From May 22, 2008 to January 13, 2009, US Airways, Inc.
operated one Airbus A320 aircraft on 855 flights while the aircraft
did not meet the airline's maintenance program requirements for an
engine repair. US Airways, Inc. could have deferred maintenance of
this item for ten days under its maintenance program but failed to
do so. Fifty-one of the flights occurred after the FAA, on December
31, 2008, brought the problem to the airline's attention.
The FAA Wednesday also proposed $3.8 million in civil penalties
against United Airlines for allegedly operating one of its Boeing
737 aircraft on more than 200 flights after the carrier had
violated its own maintenance procedures on one of the plane's
On April 28, 2008, a United 737 returned to Denver after
shutting down an engine due to low oil pressure indications. During
teardown of the engine a week later, United mechanics found that
two shop towels, instead of required protective caps, had been used
to cover openings in the oil sump area when maintenance was done in
December 2007. As a result of United's failure to follow its
maintenance procedures, between February 10 and April 28, 2008 it
flew the aircraft on more than 200 revenue flights when it was not
in an airworthy condition.
United's maintenance procedures specifically require use of
protective caps or covers on all components that could be adversely
affected by entry of foreign materials.
Both airlines have 30 days from the receipt of the civil
penalty letter to respond to the FAA.
ANN Realtime Update: 10.14.2009 2050
US Airways issued the following
statement Wednesday in response to the proposed civil penalty by
the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):
“Safety is at the forefront of everything we do at US
Airways. Today’s proposed penalty dates back to challenges we
experienced during the integration of maintenance systems and
processes on flights that occurred in 2008 and January 2009. Our
team worked cooperatively with the FAA to investigate and correct
any discrepancies to the FAA’s satisfaction.
Over the past nine months, we and the FAA have completed a
formal review of our aircraft maintenance tracking systems as well
as a comprehensive review of our maintenance program. This
collaborative process included efforts to identify the issues,
drill down to find the root cause and develop comprehensive
We appreciate the FAA’s guidance and oversight throughout
this process. The changes we have made have improved upon an
already solid maintenance program. With these challenges behind us,
we look forward to continuing our relationship with the FAA to
deliver on our common mission of safety first.
US Airways will continue to work with the FAA in a cooperative
manner to promptly achieve a negotiated resolution of the
FAA’s civil penalty proposal.”