FAA Fines Delta Almost $1M For Flying Two Planes Without Making Necessary Repairs

The Federal Aviation Administration is cracking down on Delta Air Lines, after the agency claimed the carrier failed to make or took its time making necessary repairs to two planes after inspections found damages on the aircrafts. The grand total for such infractions is close to $1 million.

In the first case, an FAA inspector noticed chips on the nose cone of a Boeing 737 during a pre-flight inspection back in February 2010, reports CNN. The chips were in the part of the nose that houses weather radar and navigational equipment, and were deep enough to show the fiberglass underneath, says the FAA.

The captain notified Delta’s maintenance center, where its officials then told the FAA inspector the damage was acceptable and no further maintenance was required. Not so, said the inspector after further research, and the FAA subsequently found Delta had wrongly flown the plane 20 times in the five days after finding the damage. That alleged infraction could cost Delta a proposed $687,500.

The other case involves a $300,000 fine for operating an Airbus A320 on 884 flights between 2010 and 2011 after Delta allegedly deferred repair of a broken cockpit floodlight socket. It’s okay for one of the four dime lights to be inoperative for no more than 10 days, but the FAA says the plane was in the air for seven months with broken equipment.

“Safety is our highest priority,” FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement about the proposed fines. “Operators must follow the proper procedures to maintain their aircraft.”

Delta responded with a statement of its own today, saying:

“The safety and security of our customers and crew is Delta’s highest core value. At no time was either of these aircraft operating in an unsafe manner. Once Delta verified the concerns of the FAA, Delta initiated immediate and necessary actions to ensure that the aircraft were in full compliance with the regulatory requirements.”

Delta faces stiff fines over alleged delayed repairs [CNN]

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  1. dush says:

    So according to Delta no performing required routine maintenance is operating aircraft in a safe manner. That’s quite an admission Delta.

  2. DabNabIt says:

    Well I guess they were urgent repairs, seeing as how one play made 20 flights with a scratched nose cone and the other made 800+ flights with a … wonky light bulb socket?

    Sounds like the FAA is being taken over by the TSA. What’s next, prevent flights with more than three ounces of water on the wings?

    • McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

      Now imagine that wonky light bulb socket shorts out and set the cockpit on fire.

      • MaxH42 needs an edit button says:

        But until it does, Delta (and DabNabit) can claim that it hasn’t actually, literally killed anyone yet to fly a plane in that condition. Unless it has, in which case this particular case is different.

    • SBR249 says:

      Accidents usually happen because a series of minor problems connect in a freak way to set up a chain of events that lead to the accident. Just because something seems minor doesn’t mean it is OK.

      For example, AF447 crashed off the coast of Brazil and the first problem that led to all the downstream events was that its pitot tubes did not have heating elements strong enough for the weather conditions and altitude the plane was flying through.

      The Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 engine accident happened because a turbine disk had cracked and was not repair. The crack propagated and the disk fractured, destroying the engine in mid-flight.

      Things like these have caused a lot of accidents in the past. What if those chips embedded in the nose cone interfered with the weather radar navigational equipment that auto-pilot relies on and the plane crashed because of it? What if the light shorted and caused a fire?

  3. I look at both sides of the story says:

    “Not so, said the inspector after further research, and the FAA subsequently found Delta had wrongly flown the plane 20 times in the five days after finding the damage. That alleged infraction could cost Delta a proposed $687,500.”

    Definition of Alleged: “accused but not proven or convicted”

    Since the FAA found that Delta wrongly flown the plane 20 times in the five days after finding the damage, the accusation is no longer alleged, the infraction has been proven.

    What is the alleged obsession with everyone allegedly adding alleged into each sentence? News stories have used ‘alleged’ even when the person has been found guilty.

  4. frodolives35 says:

    This may sound extreme but faulty maintenance on an airplane can and has cost lives. I don’t trust Delta to not weigh safety against maintenance costs if left to their own devices.

    • incident_man says:

      Well that’s why we have safety regulations for businesses anyway; because they’ve already proven that they WON’T do it, if left to themselves. It’s a COST, and big businesses hate COSTS.

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    So, was anyone else’s anti-malware program catching the latest Trojan Virus on Consumerist?

    Exploit Blackhole Exploit Kit (type 2302)

    consumerist-com.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/themes/consumerist/js/ui.js

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Yes, the site then went offline. They were also hacked last July 4th. A message when the site was down today said they would explain all when they came back.The trouble appears to have started after the move to WordPress.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        “Comcast Tech Tells Me He’ll Be Right Back… I’m Still Waiting ”

        New Headline Story:

        Consumerist claims “technical” issues for web-site takedown; promises explanation after everything check out Okie Dokie Artichokie. I’m Still Waiting.

      • StatusfriedCrustomer says:

        “Consumerist Brings Site Down Then Back Up, Shrugs”

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I didn’t see it. I was not on this morning, but I guess I better run my virus checkers.

      I have AdBlock Plus and Ghostery, so I don’t see any trackers or whatever.

  6. nybiker says:

    “It’s okay for one of the four dime lights…”

    What’s a dime light? A dome light, perhaps? Does it go on and off when they open the cabin door?

    • wootbot says:

      A “dime light” is one of a slew of innovative new cost-cutting measures.

      It works exactly like a “dome light”, except that it is coin-operated. If the crew needs the light on to read a flight chart, they have to come up with 10 cents. Asking passengers for loose change is not only acceptable, but encouraged.

      • StatusfriedCrustomer says:

        In fact, that children’s charity where they ask you to leave some spare change in the envelope in front of your seat? That’s actually a front to collect dimes to work the dime lights.

  7. Lisa W says:

    I’m a fan of Delta, but at the end of the day, I’m a bigger fan of my life.

  8. Libertas1 says:

    If the planes flew just fine, then they weren’t necessary repairs.

    • StatusfriedCrustomer says:

      The results are not the same thing as the riskiness of the results. It’s risk that should have been prevented.