FAA seeks civil penalty of $547K against HA for not complying with safety directive

Hawaiian Airlines has declined to comment on the Federal Aviation Administration’s proposed civil penalty of just over $500,000 against the Honolulu-based carrier for operating a Boeing 767-300 that was not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations, because the matter is in litigation.

 

Boeing 767 aircraft are used by the carrier on its flights to American Samoa and other U.S. and international destinations. However, it's unclear if the aircraft involved in this non-compliance case had been used between Honolulu and Pago Pago in the 8-year period cited by the FAA.

 

Responding to Samoa News questions, airline spokesperson Ann Botticelli said early Monday evening that “Hawaiian Airlines does not comment on pending litigation.Hawaiian's first commitment is always to safety.”

 

“We have requested an informal conference with the FAA to discuss the matter,” she said via email.

 

Los Angeles-based FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told Samoa News on Monday afternoon that no date has been set for the requested conference.

 

Asked as to when Hawaiian is to pay the fine, if the proposed total $547,500 civil penalty is finalized, Gregor said there is no firm timetable. “If we are unable to settle a proposed civil penalty of more than $400,000 against a large company, we would refer the matter to the US Attorney's Office for prosecution in US District Court,” he said via email.

 

In a statement issued Monday morning, the FAA alleges that Hawaiian operated a B-767 aircraft thousands of times when it was not in compliance with a July 2000 Airworthiness Directive (AD) that required inspections of certain engine thrust reverser components.

 

FAA said the purpose of the AD was to prevent a portion of the thrust reverser from coming off in flight, which could cause a rapid decompression of the aircraft. Further, the AD required initial and repetitive inspections of the components to detect damage and wear, and corrective actions if necessary. It required replacement of the components with new and improved parts within four years of the AD taking effect.

 

During a July 2012 inspection, FAA discovered that some of Hawaiian’s records erroneously showed the AD did not apply to one of its Boeing 767 aircraft, the statement said.

 

The FAA also alleges Hawaiian operated the aircraft more than 5,000 times — mostly on passenger carrying flights — between July 2004 and July 2012 when it was out of compliance with the AD. Additionally, the FAA alleges Hawaiian failed to keep required records of the status of the AD for the aircraft in question.

 

Asked about the seriousness of this non compliance violation, when it comes to the safety of the plane carrying passengers, Gregor responded, “I can't offer a subjective opinion of the violation.”

 

Samoa News reporter Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.

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