is proposing a $325,000 civil penalty against Southwest Airlines for operating an aircraft that was improperly modified, the agency said Monday, Dec. 2.
According to the FAA
, in 2011 Air Tran Airways maintenance personnel improperly installed a switch on an in-service Boeing
717 that allows flight crews to test the aircraft's windshield heating system.
The installation caused the center and left windshield warning systems to become reversed. Air Tran, which is currently in the process of merging with Southwest, allegedly operated the 717 on 1,140 passenger flights before the problem was corrected.
Cheyenne, Wyo.-based regional carrier Great Lakes Aviation also received a $304,000 penalty for allegedly operating an aircraft that was not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) on 19 flights. The FAA said the airline flew a Beech 1900 in conditions which the "carrier could reasonably expect frost, snow or ice to adhere to the planes." Great Lakes flew the aircraft out of Hays, Kan. in January 2011 with deicing fluid that exceeded the maximum operating temperature as stated in the aircraft's deicing manual.
Both airlines have 30 days to respond to the proposed civil penalties.