Alaska Airlines faces $590,000 fine for wiring problem


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The Federal Aviation Administration proposed Friday a $590,000 fine against Alaska Airlines for allegedly operating a passenger jet on more than 2,000 flights under unsafe conditions.

The federal agency charges that the airline flew a 737-400 jet for about 18 months with an improperly installed hose clamp above the flight deck. Chafing between the clamp and adjacent wires sparked a fire while the plane was parked in Anchorage International Airport in January 2010, the FAA said.


The FAA said the wiring on the plane was last inspected in 2008 but maintenance crews did not fix the hose clamp, despite warnings in the plane’s maintenance manual. An investigation by the airline found the same clamp problem on nine other jets.

Under FAA rules, the airline could be fined $25,000 for each violation, with every flight constituting a violation. Under that rule, the FAA could fine Alaska about $53 million for the flights performed by the plane that caught fire.

Instead, the FAA has proposed a $590,000 fine to settle the alleged violation. The airline has 30 days to either pay the penalty or dispute the fine in federal district court.

In a statement, Alaska Airline said it plans to cooperate with the FAA to resolve the matter.

-- Hugo Martin