FAA Proposes Civil Penalties for 5 Companies for Violations of DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations

Today, July 16, 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed to assess civil penalties ranging from $50,000 to $70,000 against five companies for alleged violation of the Federal Aviation Regulations or Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations.

First, the FAA is proposing to fine Spirit Airlines, Inc. of Miramar, Florida, $50,000 for returning an aircraft to service, and then operating that aircraft on revenue passenger flights when it was not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations. The FAA alleged that Spirit failed to replace a faulty elevator aileron computer (ELAC) after the aircraft experienced an uncommanded pitch down of the nose while operating between Orlando, Fla. and San Juan, Puerto Rico on Aug. 21, 2009. Although Spirit’s maintenance program required replacement of the ELAC computer, the airline did not do so before flying the A321 on a revenue passenger flight the next day from San Juan to Fort Lauderdale, when the aircraft experienced another uncommanded pitch down.

Friendship Airways, Inc., of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, an air taxi operator, has a proposed fine of $63,525 for operating two Cessna 402 aircraft on 77 commuter flights in violation of its air carrier certificate and operations specifications. The FAA alleged that the two aircraft were not authorized for use for the flights between June 21 and July 21, 2008 because they were not listed on the company’s operating specifications for commuter service.

Fleet Aviation of White Plains, N.Y., an on-demand charter and air taxi company, was hit with a proposed $50,000 penalty for operating two of its aircraft on 251 flights between June 15, 2009 and March 19, 2010 when crews had not completed the emergency drills required by its training program.

Next, the FAA proposed a $54,000 fine against Englund Marine Supply Co. of Astoria, Ore., for offering a package containing flammable gasses and liquids to UPS for transportation by air from Astoria to Rio Vista, Calif., March 26, 2010. The package was discovered leaking at Portland before it was loaded on an aircraft.

Finally, Coty, Inc. of New York is alleged to  have offered a package containing perfume, a flammable liquid, to FedEx for transportation by air from Upland, Calif., to Covington, Wash., March 9, 2010. This led to a proposed civil penalty of $70,000.  FedEx employees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport discovered the shipment leaking.

In all instances of alleged hazmat violations, the materials offered were not properly classed, described, packaged, marked, labeled and in proper condition for shipment under the hazardous materials regulations.

Companies have 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s notice of proposed civil penalty to respond to the agency.

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