United Airlines has landed in hot water and even Captain Sully might not be able to save them. The airline company is facing a $435,000 fine from the FAA for allegedly operating a plane that was not in “airworthy condition,” as reported by CNBC.
The plane at the heart of the drama is a Boeing Dreamliner that had its fuel pump replaced by United mechanics on June 9, 2014. Instead of immediately inspecting the plane, as required, the FAA says United put the plane back into service, which undoubtedly thrilled customers stuck at the airport while the plane was repaired. The FAA contends that the plane went on to make 23 domestic and international flights before getting inspected. In a move that probably really irked the FAA, two of those flights came after the agency told United it needed to inspect the plane, according to the New York Daily News. United wants a sit-down with the FAA before forking over the fine.
Last year, Vanity Fair made a close …er, inspection of the airplane maintenance industry and it’s not particularly reassuring. United’s repairs are done by a shop in China, which saves on labor costs, but could make it hard to get planes inspected. While the FAA is supposed to inspect the overseas maintenance facilities that most airlines use these days, it doesn’t have the money or the manpower to do it. Perhaps that six-figure fine could help fund a few more inspections.