Thursday, March 01, 2001

FAA says airline failed to disclose cargo hazard

By James Hannah
The Associated Press

        DAYTON, Ohio — The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday proposed a $500,000 fine against Emery Worldwide Airlines. The FAA accused the air cargo company of failing to notify pilots that hazardous materials were being transported on its planes.

        The FAA said that on 19 occasions between October 1998 and July 1999, Emery failed to notify pilots that hazardous materials were being transported on their flights. The materials included flammable liquids and aerosols, sulfuric acid and explosive articles.

        The agency also said that on two additional flights, Emery gave the pilots incorrect information about hazardous cargo. On one occasion, Emery accepted a shipment of hazardous materials that had partially obscured markings, the agency said.

        FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said pilots need to know if they are carrying hazardous materials so they know how to react in case something happens during flight.

        Emery spokeswoman Nancy Colvert said the company is reviewing the FAA's findings.

        Emery Worldwide is a subsidiary of CNF, a $6 billion global logistics company based in Palo Alto, Calif. Emery's main air freight hub and the airline itself are based at Dayton International Airport.

        On Feb. 18, 2000, an Emery plane plunged into an auto auctions yard near Sacramento, Calif., while en route from Rancho Cordova, Calif., to Dayton. The crash killed the plane's three crew members.

        The FAA also proposed that Emery be fined $105,000 for operating a plane for 13 flights without performing required maintenance after one of the aircraft's engines was shut down in flight. The shutdown occurred because of a loss of oil pressure and fluid.

        In addition, the FAA proposed a fine of $93,000 for what the agency said was Emery's failure to replace a cockpit control column.

        In a separate announcement, the FAA proposed a $97,000 fine against Grand Aire Express Inc. of Toledo. The agency said the air charter company assigned one of its pilots as second-in-command on 116 flights when he was not qualified.

        Grand Aire president Tahir Cheema would not comment on the FAA's allegation, but said FAA has no authority to assess a penalty of more than $50,000.

        The airlines have 30 days to respond to the FAA and discuss settlement of the cases.


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