U.S. Airline Safety Fines Up

Fines on U.S. airlines for safety violations totaled more than $9.4 million last year, an increase of at least 80 percent from the year before, according to a published report.

Security violations account for about half the amount fined last year, and maintenance violations account for 38 percent, USA Today reported yesterday.

The total amount of fines from last year could grow because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) withholds information about security cases that were opened within the past year.

Studying FAA records and enforcement cases for 23 jet airlines since 1985, the newspaper found that maintenance and security violations accounted for almost three-quarters of the dollar amount of all fines against the airlines from 1985 to 1998.

The FAA fined or took administrative action against airlines an average eight times each work day in 1998 for safety violations, the newspaper said.

America West was fined the highest amount last year, nearly $2.8 million, most of it for operating flights without performing required inspections, the report said.

Delta Air Lines was fined the most times last year, 177 in all, and the second-highest amount, almost $2 million, the newspaper said.

Continental was fined the least amount in 1999, $111,250, the report said.

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