American Airlines has been hit with the largest fine in history for safety violations which may cause customers pause before using the carrier. The $24.2 million civil penalty addressing American Airlines’ failure to properly inspect wire bundles in the wheel wells of its MD-80 aircraft.
The carrier did not follow a 2006 Airworthiness Directive and risked the wires shorting and causing a loss of power and possible fire.
The failure resulted in April 2008 in a massive grounding of 1,000 flights. The resulting inspection found that American operated 286 of its MD-80s “while the aircraft were not in compliance with federal regulations.”
American opposed the proposed fine and insists that “[w]e will challenge any proposed civil penalty. We are confident we have a strong case and the facts will bear this out.”
While fighting the FAA on the safety violations, American is moving forward with a new plan to charge passengers more for sitting in coach but closer to the front door — yet another added fee from airlines.