RENTON, WA – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed to assess a $500,000 civil penalty against Alaska Airlines of Seattle for allegedly operating a Boeing 737 aircraft on 478 flights when it was not in compliance with federal aviation regulations.
The FAA alleged that between July 12 and December 2, 2004, Goodrich Aviation Technical Services, Inc., an Alaska Airlines authorized repair and maintenance vendor, performed extensive maintenance on a Boeing 737, but failed to reinstall the floor proximity lighting system’s emergency exit identifier lights, as required by Alaska’s Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program. Without this cabin floor lighting system the aircraft is not in compliance with regulations and may not be operated in revenue service.
Alaska Airlines performed 40 more inspections of the aircraft between December 2, 2004 and February 2, 2005, but failed to detect the problem and continued to operate the aircraft. On February 2, 2005, Alaska discovered the problem and installed emergency exit identifier lights. On February 10, however, an FAA aviation safety inspector discovered the wrong emergency exit identifier lights had been installed. Despite this notification, Alaska operated the aircraft on at least 43 more revenue flights with the incorrect lights until the airline replaced them with the correct lights on February 16.
Alaska Airlines has requested an informal conference with the FAA to discuss the proposed penalty. This meeting is scheduled for January 18, 2006.