Pinnacle Airlines, who is already facing an uphill battle financially, is now facing a huge fine from the FAA for aircraft that may not have been worthy to fly.
The Memphis-based carrier was already dealing with the losses of $3.46 million in the last quarter and is trying to revise worker contracts with its partner Delta. But now the airline faces hefty penalties for incorrect maintenance on some of its airliners:
‘The FAA alleges that two commercial jets operated by Pinnacle were not in compliance with aviation regulations on a total of 63 flights in 2009 and 2010. The first jet was flown 23 times with flight crew members performing maintenance tasks on an inoperative passenger door wheel assembly. FAA inspectors had previously denied the airline’s request to avoid using trained maintenance workers to perform the task. The other violation of compliance with federal air safety regulations involved Pinnacle’s failure to make timely inspections of a previously detected and growing crack in a turbine case over a 640-hour operating period. The proposed penalty is based on the commuter airline’s use of the jet for over 40 passenger flights while it was out of compliance.’
“This is just another example of why the business model of ‘increase profits by cutting safety’ is wrong,” stated John A. Greaves, an airline disaster attorney and former airline captain. “When these airlines get away with operating an unsafe airline 999 times out of 1,000, they think the unthinkable won’t happen to them. Gambling the lives of their passengers for a few dollars more is an everyday practice.”
Pinnacle has 30 days to respond to the charges.