For Immediate Release

Release No. ASW 12-02
March 13, 2002
Contact: John Clabes, Roland Herwig
Phone: (405) 954-7500

FORT WORTH — The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed to assess a $170,000 civil penalty against American Airlines for violations of maintenance procedures involved in an aircraft's fuel indicating system.

The FAA said that in July 2000, an American MD-80 underwent fuel indicating system maintenance at Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Prior to the aircraft's first flight, a contract fueler noted an imbalance between the right and left wing fuel tank gauge readings. Fuel was later transferred to the required levels in both wings as indicated on the aircraft gauges.

The flight departed and after liftoff the right main quantity indicator dropped to 2,700 pounds and the crew declared an emergency and returned to Raleigh-Durham. It was determined that the right wing fuel quantity indicator showed an incorrect amount.

The FAA said American Airlines maintenance employees failed to perform wing fuel imbalance checks on the aircraft after the emergency landing; then operated the aircraft on 88 flights without the required check. The checks were done in August, 2000.

American Airlines has 30 days from receipt of the enforcement letter to respond to the agency. Announcement of the proposed civil penalty is made in accordance with the FAA's policy of releasing information to the public on newly issued enforcement actions in cases that involve penalties of $50,000 or more.