tarmac.jpgYesterday, the FAA proposed a staggering $9.2 million in total fines against United and US Airways for skirting its (not to mention their own) safety procedures – doling out pecuniary penalties of $3.8 million to United (for flying a Boeing 737 hundreds of times with towels covering engine oil sumps, instead of protective caps) and $5.4 million to US Airways (which operated over a thousand flights during the past year on aircraft that violated official maintenance procedures).

The fines, one of the largest lump sums ever dealt out by the FAA, come as a result of a comprehensive investigative review of the maintenance systems of all domestic airlines, after Southwest was ordered to pay $10 million in early 2008 for using unauthorized parts and knowingly flying planes that had missed proper inspections (Southwest settled with $7.5 million last March). American Airlines was also ordered to pay $7 million last year for flying jets without making necessary repairs.


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Both US Airways and United are contending they are taking steps to ensure safety standards are now met (like intensifying worker training) and cooperating with the FAA, which issues a few hundred corrective directives a year regarding unsafe operations.


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What do you think? Do all of these large lawsuits make you uneasy? Or do you feel better knowing the FAA is serious about enforcing safety regulations?

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