The FAA is proposing to fine Allegiant Air $715,000 for
allegedly operating an aircraft on more than two dozen flights in April 2018
following improper engine maintenance.
Allegiant disputes that the airline committed a violation.
The charge involves an MD-80 aircraft on which the exhaust
gas temperature exceeded normal limits. According to the FAA, Allegiant dealt
with the issue by turning off the automatic reverse thrust system. While that
is the proper first step, the MD-80 maintenance manual calls for the airline to
then determine the cause of the issue and correct the problem before turning
the system on again.
However, Allegiant did not determine the cause of the excess
temperature and instead deactivated the automatic reverse thrust system for 28
flights between April 14 and April 22 of last year, the FAA said.
"As a result, Allegiant violated the terms of its
FAA-issued operations specifications," the agency said.
In an email, Allegiant spokeswoman Sonya Padgett wrote that
the carrier followed a procedure that was developed by McDonnell Douglas,
approved by the FAA and still followed by other MD-80 operators.
"Following this procedure never jeopardized the safety
of our aircraft or our operations, and we believe the proposed fine is
inappropriate and inconsistent with existing FAA policy," Padgett said.
Allegiant retired the last of its MD-80 aircraft in late
November and now has an all-Airbus fleet.