America West Settles FAA Charges
America West Airlines will pay $2.5 million, the largest penalty ever levied against an airline, under an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to settle alleged maintenance violations. The FAA said it will suspend an additional $2.5 million in fines if America West complies with the terms of the agreement, under which it must improve safety procedures to levels beyond those required by law. Among the alleged violations were 41,000 flights of Airbus A-320 planes over a two-year period that had not been inspected for possible fuselage skin-cracking. Other alleged violations include operation of Boeing 737 and 757 passenger and cargo flights with cargo-hold webbing that was improperly installed. The FAA also cited a problem with the elevator of a 757 that allegedly was put back into use with a part that had not been serviced according to requirements. America West, the ninth-largest U.S. carrier, admitted no wrongdoing.