By Frank James
The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing a $2.5 million fine against American Eagle, the feeder airline for American Airlines, for failing to appropriately account for the weight of luggage on more than 150 flights.
The FAA became super sensitized to how airlines calculate the weight of passengers and luggage after the 2003 crash of Air Midwest Flight 5481 which was blamed on a faulty estimate and distribution of passenger weight due to the airline industry's use of outdated weight tables.
Bill Zeeble of NPR member station KERA in Dallas which serves North Texas reports:
The FAA proposes the civil penalty because it says American Eagle failed to adequately ensure the weight of baggage was properly calculated on at least 154 flights flown in 2008. That means the plane could have been too heavy for safe takeoffs and landings.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the traveling public has to be confident airlines are following important safety rules. The FAA says the flights in question showed cargo sheet baggage weights disagreed with the company's Electronic Weight and Balance System.
And even after the FAA told Eagle of the discrepancy, it says Eagle flew 39 more flights without correcting the problem. The carrier calls the penalties excessive and inappropriate and says it operates a safe carrier.