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Thursday, February 18, 2010

FAA proposed 2 fines to American Eagle within a month

American Eagle (AE) is the commuter unit of American Airlines, who is Japan Airlines' partner in the US. This is the second fine within weeks the FAA has proposed against AE due to maintenance mishaps. I know I have said this before, but have you really picked the right partner, JAL?

This time FAA is proposing a USD 2.9 million penalty for the alleged violations. According to FAA, AE has operated more than 1,100 passenger flights after undergoing improper repairs to their landing-gear doors in 2008. So you will think mistakes happened and it's no big deal right? Apparently AE has operated more than 200 of those flights after they realized the aircraft were not in compliance with the mandatory safety directives!

It is scary that this is actually the SECOND fine against EA proposed by FAA within weeks! Two weeks ago FAA proposed a separate USD 2.5 million fine because AE allegedly operated more than 150 flights with incorrect takeoff weights. And according to The Wall Street Jorunal, "American Airlines is expected to face a larger proposed fine, perhaps more than $10 million, for what the FAA contends were widespread maintenance lapses on certain wiring repairs to its fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft."

Of course the airlines protest against the fine and issued statements. I will leave it to you to read it yourself in the WSJ article. IMHO, the most disappointing part is AE continued to operate the flights even after they found out about their mistakes. In other words, if the allegation is true, managements at AE is NOT putting flight safety as their top priority. This is a big NO NO for any airlines. How can you gain passengers' trust while you don't put their lives in your first place? Improper maintenance can cause fatal accidents. In fact, the single deadliest air incident, i.e. the JAL123 crashed, was caused by improper repair done to the aircraft (Boeing was partly at fault for this).

So, hypothetically, after the ATI, if AA operates its US-Japan flights with improper maintenance and get fined, will they claim this is part of the operating cost and shared that with JAL!?!? I hope not. Even with JBA, AA should be a separate legal entity. Hopefully I am right on this. But you have to know your safety problem will also affect JAL once JBA is in effect. So please fix your problem, AA.

Related Post:
Are you sure you want to pick AA, JAL?

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