Saturday, September 6, 2014
FAA Gets Half Million Dollars For Alaska Airlines Electrical Fire In 2010
In a tactic that seems to be becoming more and more common, as well as remunerative, for various government agencies the one that runs the show in aviation, the FAA has fined Seattle-based Alaska Airlines $500,000 for an incident that occurred in 2010 while a Boeing 737-400 was being serviced at a gate at the Anchorage airport. A misplaced clamp caused a short circuit in the cockpit electrical system that caused a fire of undisclosed size. Evidently the aircraft was not destroyed. Details of the affair are sketchy.
While nobody wants an airplane to catch fire ever, what's really going on here? Four years ago there's some kind of an accident on a commercial passenger jet undergoing maintenance at an airport. Steps were taken to prevent similar occurrences in the future. Case closed? No. The FAA, as an untouchable federal agency with literally the power of life or death over the businesses under its control, can exact what amounts to a half-million dollar addition to its budget by supposedly punishing Alaska Airlines four years after the fact. As a government-licensed corporation, no management figure has been fined or sent to the hoosegow over this but the fine has been deducted from a dividend to the common stock holders, in the unlikely event that one is ever paid. The last payment was 12 1/2 cents a share on Aug. 15.
Not all the news is bad for Alaska Airlines. The Defense Dept. has awarded the company a $203.37 million transportation contract.