Go figure! Now the TSA is blaming American Eagle for the damage to their aircraft. As you will recall, an ambitious (and perhaps curious) TSA inspector used TAT probes on American Eagle aircraft as a foot step to gain access to the aircraft. In the process, this idiot damaged several aircraft requiring inspection by mechanics and delaying some 40 flights from Chicago's O'hare airport.
Now the TSA is alleging that this was American Eagle's fault! The TSA admits that the inspector damaged several of these probes; however, the TSA alleges that the inspector was able to get into 7 of 9 aircraft parked and unattended. Further, the TSA states that it may fine American Eagle up to $ 175,000 for leaving their aircraft vulnerable, thus compounding the financial loss to American Eagle.
TSA regulations require that doors be closed while aircraft are unattended and that jetways be pulled away from the aircraft. Those jetways are operated using key codes that only airline and airport employees with valid ID are authorized to have. So far no one has proven that American was operating outside of the TSA security regulations or guidelines.
An American Eagle spokesperson stated that American Eagle is "confident that it followed all proper security procedures for securing aircraft overnight," and that if the damage to the TAT probes by the inspector had gone unnoticed the actions of the inspector "could have jeopardized the safety of our customers and crew."
Once again we see a prime example of our government at work to protect us while causing us both financial and substantial damage to a business. Does anyone really believe the statement "Hi, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."
Corporate pilots and corporate flight departments beware! The TSA is coming for you sooner than you think!
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!