The FAA sent a letter to Southwest Airlines on Thursday, notifying the carrier that because some Southwest Boeing 737s were flown while not in compliance with an Airworthiness Directive, the FAA wants to assess a civil penalty of $10.2 million. Most civil penalties are negotiated to a lower number.
The FAA today said it planned to levy a $10.2 million civil penalty against Southwest Airlines for operating 46 airplanes that hadn’t undergone mandatory inspections for fuselage fatigue cracking. Subsequently, the airline found that six of the 46 airplanes had developed fatigue cracks.
Last month I participated in a panel discussion about maintenance of the airline fleet. For a long time the airlines have depended on certified repair stations to make repairs they couldn’t tackle because of a lack of facilities or required tooling.
The Air Transport Association (ATA) expects U.S. airlines to post a $3.5 to $4.5 billion net profit this year, following back-to-back net profits in 2006 and 2007. The past two years were the first consecutive profitable years since 1999-2000. According to ATA, whose members transport more than 90 percent of all U.S.
It doesn’t have any airplanes. In fact, it doesn’t even have a name yet. But Matt Andersson has nevertheless announced the intent of his company, Aviation Development Holdings, to launch “a clean-sheet, breakthrough regional airline jet service, independent and decoupled from the major airlines.”
Still concerned about landing overrun accidents, the FAA published a new Advisory Circular (91-79) on November 6 to advise pilots and operators about how to avoid such mishaps. While the circular is not mandatory, the FAA recommends that commercial and Part 91 business jet operators incorporate the material into their operations manuals or appropriate documents such as standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The FAA now doesn’t expect domestic commercial air travel to return to pre-9/11 levels until 2006, and its earlier forecasts that U.S. airlines would be enplaning one billion passengers a year by 2010 have been pushed back to at least 2014.
While many cities, counties and other agencies from coast to coast pursue policies of scaling back operations at airports they control–or in some cases even eliminating them entirely–Clark County, Nev., is flying a reciprocal course. Comprising the state’s southern tip, Clark includes the state’s two largest cities, Las Vegas and Henderson. The area’s economy is perhaps the most tourism- and convention-dependent in the nation.
While regional airlines in the U.S. enjoy something of a renaissance as a result of post-9/11 capacity restructuring, Europe’s regionals continue to register unspectacular traffic growth and progressively deteriorating yield performances. The reasons vary, but delegates at last month’s ERA spring conference in Barcelona more often than not pinned the blame on the rise of the discount fare segment.
U.S. airlines are getting a lot of attention of late, with dire tales of gridlocked traffic and passengers trapped for hours because of weather problems, stretched-thin logistics chains and full flights. It’s a zoo out there, which is good for business aviation because the alternative has never looked worse.