Says Airline Did Not Properly Calculate Baggage Weight On 154
The FAA has proposed a civil
penalty totaling almost $2.5 million against American Eagle
Airlines for operating flights without adequately ensuring the
weight of baggage was properly calculated. "The traveling public
has to be confident that airlines are following important safety
rules," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "When they
are not operating to the highest levels of safety, they are subject
to stiff fines."
The FAA alleges that between January and October 2008, American
Eagle conducted at least 154 passenger-carrying flights when the
baggage weight listed on airplane cargo load sheets disagreed with
data entered into the company's Electronic Weight and Balance
System. Entry of erroneous data into the weight and balance system
results in an incorrect computation of the weight and balance of a
particular aircraft. This can potentially lead to faulty
calculations for the proper control settings and reference speeds
necessary for safe takeoffs and landings.
"Our inspectors are hard at work every day across the country
looking for any safety issues at airlines," said FAA Administrator
Randy Babbitt. "When we find an apparent violation of our safety
rules we conduct an investigation, pursue civil penalties when
necessary and require the airline to correct the problems."
The FAA alleges that after the situation was brought to the
attention of American Eagle, the company operated at least 39
flights without correcting the problem. After the FAA's
initial investigation, American Eagle took corrective action by
revising its Station Operating Manual to ensure that proper weight
and balance information is confirmed, pending automation of its
cargo load sheets. However, the violations resulted in a proposed
civil penalty of $2,475,000.
American Eagle has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA's civil
penalty letter to respond to the agency.