FAA Fines UPS $4 Million for Lapses in Aircraft Repairs

The U.S. Transportation Department fined United Parcel Service Inc. $4 million for allegedly maintaining four cargo planes improperly and then flying them, the agency said in a statement.

UPS’s practices didn’t follow Federal Aviation Administration rules, according to a statement issued today. Two DC-8 aircraft and two MD-11 aircraft were flown improperly on more than 400 flights between October 2008 and June 2009, the FAA said.

“The aviation industry knows that we take safety very seriously,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in the statement. “Air carriers must comply with federal regulations to ensure aircraft are maintained to the highest level of safety.”

The Louisville, Kentucky-based company failed to comply with a consent agreement in which it agreed to inspect all of its aircraft and compare actual repairs with maintenance records, the FAA said.

UPS believes it was complying with FAA rules and it “will vigorously defend” its position, company spokesman Mike Mangeot said in an e-mail. The FAA’s proposed penalty relates to documentation of nine repairs, and it is “unwarranted and unreasonable,” he said.

“UPS has a long history of operating a safe, compliant airline,” Mangeot said. “There was never a safety issue.”

UPS has 30 days to respond, the agency said.

“No aircraft should leave the ground until the operator has made all necessary repairs, and made them according to the correct procedures,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said.

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