FAA seeks penalties against American Airlines for deferred maintenance

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced actions totaling $7.1 million in civil penalties against American Airlines for improperly deferring maintenance on safety-related equipment and deficiencies with its drug and alcohol testing programs and exit lighting inspections.

The FAA asserts that in December 2007, American used the wrong provisions of its Minimum Equipment List (MEL) to return two MD-83 aircraft to service after pilots had reported problems, and flew the planes 58 times in violation of FAA regulations. The MEL contains components and systems without which the aircraft may operate safely under specific limitations, as proven by the operator or manufacturer.

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