FAA Seeks $1M Penalty against San Antonio Aero

 - January 25, 2011, 10:31 AM

The FAA has proposed a $1,025,000 civil penalty against San Antonio Aerospace for allegedly violating the Department of Transportation’s workplace drug-and-alcohol testing program. The alleged violations occurred between March 24, 2007 and May 8, 2008. The company was renamed ST Aerospace San Antonio in November 2009 and is currently a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Aerospace.

Although the parent company is based in Singapore, it falls under FAA jurisdiction, according to an FAA spokesman. “As far as our [FAA’s] clout over the company, we have all that we need given that [the company needs] FAA certificates to perform much of its work and two of its largest operations are in the U.S.”

The FAA alleges San Antonio Aerospace “failed to conduct required pre-employment drug tests and receive verified negative drug test results before hiring 90 people to perform safety-sensitive functions.” It further states 25 employees performed safety-sensitive work before the results of their drug tests were known. Spokespeople for both the FAA and the company declined to expand upon the nature of the “safety-sensitive functions.”

A spokeswoman for the company told AIN, “We are currently corresponding with the FAA on this matter, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to share more details at this juncture.”

She did say the issue had been addressed with the FAA in 2008 and emphasized that there are no allegations of problems with current compliance. “All the employees referred to by the FAA did pass their drug tests,” she said.

In a formal response to the FAA the company wrote, “Although we are concerned about the FAA’s notice, we are also comfortable with the fact that we cooperated with the FAA years ago to resolve their concerns and to implement quality controls to ensure that we continue to comply with the FAA’s drug-testing standards.…Nonetheless, we are treating this matter seriously and we will work closely with the FAA to resolve it.” 

The FAA alleges San Antonio Aerospace did not administer pre-employment drug tests to 62 workers and did not receive verified negative results before those workers were hired. Twenty-three of the workers performed “safety-sensitive work” before the tests were administered and before the company received verified negative results.

According to the FAA, 22 more workers received the required pre-employment drug test but the company did not receive verified negative results until after those workers were hired. Two of those workers performed “safety-sensitive” tasks before the company received verified negative results. Another six workers took their pre-employment drug tests on the day they were hired.