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September 12, 2011
Contact: Allen Kenitzer or Mike Fergus
Phone: (425) 227-2004
FAA Proposes $1.1 Million Civil Penalty Against Aviation Technical Services
“Safety is our highest priority and improper work that compromises safety is not acceptable,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Passengers have the right to expect the nation’s airlines to operate properly-maintained airplanes.”
The FAA alleges that ATS failed to accomplish all the work required by three FAA airworthiness directives calling for five repetitive inspections and a one-time inspection to find and repair fatigue cracks in the fuselage skins of the planes. The inspections are part of Southwest’s Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program.
After the inspections, ATS allegedly failed to install fasteners in all the rivet holes within the time specified for the task. The drying time of the required sealant dictates the window available to complete installation of the fasteners.
The aircraft involved returned to service between Dec. 1, 2006 and Sept.18, 2009.
The Southwest Airlines B-737-300 that suffered a fuselage crown failure in April 2011 is not one of the aircraft listed in the proposed civil penalty. ATS did not perform inspection and repair work on that aircraft prior to the April fuselage failure.
“Aircraft can be operated safely for many years if all the maintenance work is performed properly,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “It is critical to follow all the required steps.”
Aviation Technical Services has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.
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