The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed fining Dallas-based American Eagle Airlines for alleged safety violations. The most recent case involves what the FAA called improper repairs on landing gear doors on four Bombardier CRJ700 jets. The agency has proposed a $2.9 million civil penalty for the alleged violations. Earlier this month it proposed a $2.5 million fine against Eagle for failing to properly calculate baggage weight on at least 154 flights.
The FAA charges that between February and May 2008 American Eagle conducted at least 1,178 passenger-carrying flights using the four suspect Bombardier jets. It claims Eagle did not repair the airplane’s landing gear doors in accordance with an Airworthiness Directive that became effective in August 2006.
The AD required operators of certain Bombardier jets to inspect both main inboard landing gear doors for cracks and other damage, including loose or missing fasteners. The directive also required operators to remove the affected doors and either replace them with new or repaired doors or remove the doors and note the discrepancy in the aircraft’s records. The FAA charges that after Eagle found damage on four aircraft, it repaired the doors while they remained on the airplanes.
American Eagle has since removed the landing gear doors on each of the affected aircraft and repaired them in accordance with the AD.
“Following Airworthiness Directives is not optional,’’ said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “The FAA does not hesitate to levy fines if maintenance standards are violated.”
In the case of the alleged weight-and-balance violations, the FAA reports 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.
The FAA said that after the initial investigation American Eagle revised its station operating manual to ensure the confirmation of proper weight-and-balance information, pending automation of its cargo load sheets.