Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Express Air Freight Carrier Threatened with Multi Million Dollar Fine Over Safety

FAA Accusations of Improper Maintenance
Shipping News Feature

US – The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week proposed a $4 million civil penalty against express freight group United Parcel Service (UPS) of Louisville, Kentucky, for allegedly improperly maintaining four cargo aircraft and then operating them when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations. UPS has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA's civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.

The FAA alleges that UPS failed to follow FAA-approved procedures for making structural repairs to two DC-8 aircraft and two MD-11 aircraft. UPS operated the four planes on more than 400 flights between October 2008 and June 2009. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said:

“The aviation industry knows that we take safety very seriously. Air carriers must comply with federal regulations to ensure aircraft are maintained to the highest level of safety.”

These violations stem from UPS’s failure to fully comply with the terms of a consent agreement in which the carrier agreed to inspect all aircraft in its fleet and compare actual repairs with maintenance records. This would have ensured the four aircraft were in compliance with the regulations. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta commented:

“No aircraft should leave the ground until the operator has made all necessary repairs, and made them according to the correct procedures.”

Despite ample opportunity to respond UPS remains silent on the matter and, despite issuing several press releases since the FAA statement nothing relevant has been heard from the media contacts at the company.

Photo: This topical shot is of another UPS DC-8 which made an emergency landing in 2006 after the cargo of lithium batteries aboard apparently caught fire. Problems with such cells were covered in a recent article.