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Thursday, April 25, 2013

UPS to Fight FAA's Proposed $4 Million Air Cargo Fine

By Woodrow Bellamy III

FAA is proposing a $4 million civil penalty against Louisville, Ky.-based UPS for cargo aircraft violations that the carrier claims is unwarranted. 
FAA said UPS operated two DC-8s and two MD-11s on more than 400 flights between 2008 and 2009 without having the aircraft in compliance with federal regulations. UPS had a consent agreement with FAA to inspect all aircraft in its fleet and compare actual repairs with maintenance records. 
“No aircraft should leave the ground until the operator has made all necessary repairs, and made them according to the correct procedures,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
According to Michael Mangeot, a spokesman for UPS Air Group, the repairs in question stem from a comprehensive audit that UPS participated in with FAA in 2008. The audit examined previously approved historical record for a total of 5,785 repairs made on 158 aircraft that have been operated by UPS. 
"From that three-year, $20 million effort, just nine records on four aircraft were found to have questions. When we realized there were potential issues with the records -- not the actual safety of the aircraft -- we grounded the planes and took corrective action," Mangeot said in an email to Aviation Today. "There was never a safety-of-flight issue with the aircraft involved. Out of an abundance of caution, we re-examined and in some cases replaced and re-documented the repairs about which there questions."
UPS retired its fleet of DC-8s in 2009 after 40 years of service as part of recession-related cost cuts. The two MD-11s remain in service for UPS's air cargo operations. 

The agency is allowing 30 days for UPS to respond to the proposed civil penalty. 

Related: Aviation Today's Checklist 

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