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Press Release – City of Cleveland Agrees to Pay $200,000 and Enhance Compliance Systems

For Immediate Release

May 17, 2016
Contact: Elizabeth Isham Cory
Phone: (847) 294-7849; Email:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced a comprehensive settlement agreement with the City of Cleveland that resolves several pending enforcement cases.

Under the agreement, the City of Cleveland pledges to build upon and maintain existing improvements to its airfield snow and ice removal plan at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

“Compliance requires all certificate holders to develop and implement internal controls that ensure they’re operating according to the highest standards,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.  “The City of Cleveland has made the changes needed to meet the FAA’s regulatory requirements.  We look forward to working with the City as it continues to enhance its compliance systems.”

The City of Cleveland must make a payment to the United States Treasury of $200,000 within 30 days of the signed agreement.  The FAA will waive the remaining balance of the $735,000 proposed civil penalty if the City of Cleveland meets the following conditions:

  • Maintenance of appropriate staffing numbers, with reports to the FAA twice each year, through 2020.
  • Documentation of the staffing allocated per shift for each winter event.
  • Procurement of new and replacement snow removal equipment by 2019.  The FAA will review this plan every 12 months.
  • Construction of a snow removal equipment storage building on or before December 31, 2017.
  • Specific requirements for executive management oversight in the airport’s Airport Certification Manual (Snow and Ice Control Plan).  Updates for these procedures must be made no later than October 1, 2016.

To date, the City has made numerous changes, including:

  • Full staffing as of December 23, 2015, including an increase in the number of field maintenance foreman positions, additional equipment drivers, and improved management oversight.
  • Updated staffing requirements, including minimum staffing levels related to forecast weather conditions.
  • A coordinated Snow Desk that is operational during significant snow events.

On September 18, 2015, the FAA had proposed civil penalties totaling $735,000 against the City of Cleveland for failing to meet FAA requirements for maintaining a safe airport during winter weather.

The FAA alleged that over a 15-month period ending in March 2015, managers at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport failed on numerous occasions to keep the airport’s runways and taxiways safe and clear of snow and ice.  Federal Aviation Regulations require airports with commercial service to have sufficient and qualified personnel to carry out their snow and ice control plans during severe weather.

This agreement settles four cases that were opened last year.