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How Safe Are The Airlines?

by John M. White |

In an article in USA TODAY by Gary Stoller he questions the safety of airline maintenance as he looks through the publish report by the FAA on fines levied against the airlines by the FAA over the past 6 years. According to this report the FAA levied a total of $ 28,160,450 in fines for 145 violations and 1,155 warnings to the airlines over the past 6 years. The largest fine was $ 7,500,00- against Southwest airlines, while two airlines - Comair and Republic - had no fines and a total of 10 warnings between them.
Around 90% of the maintenance violations result in a warning rather than a fine, but the article does not delve into the kinds of violations that occurred so it is difficult to evaluate how serious the problem is. As I look at the numbers I note that the FAA has levied an average of $ 4,693,408 in fines per year, but if yu take the top 3 offenders out of the mix the number drops dramatically to $ 1.5M per year. Maintaining An Airliner The average number of fines over 6 years was 24, while the average number of warnings was 193 per year. Without any information as to what these violations were it is difficult to decide how serious this problem really is. Maintenance is a difficult thing for the airlines. Equipment not only needs regular maintenance but breakdown maintenance as well. The author of the article suggests that the FAA use the fine money to improving airline's maintenance practices through training and other programs. Given that accidents rarely occur because of poor maintenance, but rather due to operational errors, I am not convinced that there is a serious problem. I would be curious what the rest of you think. Please make a comment and let me know what you think about this report and airline maintenance? Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 There are two critical points in every aerial flight—its beginning and its end. — Alexander Graham Bell, 1906.

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