American Airlines, the nation's second-largest air carrier, pleaded guilty on Dec. 16 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami to violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by illegally storing hazardous waste.
The plea agreement calls for American to pay a fine of $8 million and establish a court-supervised hazardous materials safety program at every airport where American accepts cargo for shipment.
In its plea, American admitted that it illegally stored a container of Dioxital at an American facility in Miami.
Dioxital is an oxidizer that can explode when it comes into contact with heat.
Employees of American Airlines violated federal law when they failed to properly dispose of a drum of Dioxital that was partially consumed by fire in Miami when its lid blew off after it was taken from an American flight that had arrived from Mexico City on July 27, 1995.
After the fire was put out, they also illegally stored the drum and remaining Dioxital at the Miami airport for more than three years.