Allegiant Air allegedly operated a McDonnell Douglas MD-88 on more than two dozen flights after improper engine maintenance, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has proposed that the carrier pay a civil penalty of $715,438.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the FAA said that Allegiant had asked the agency in October 2017 if it could deactivate an MD-80’s automatic reverse thrust system when the engine’s exhaust gas temperature was above normal limits. The FAA’s response, delivered two months later, was that “deactivating that system would be improper unless the system caused the excess temperature, because the temperature exceedance could have other causes.”
On April 13, 2018, the exhaust gas temperature exceeded normal limits during an Allegiant MD-88’s takeoff from Roanoke, Virginia, for Orlando, Florida, the FAA said.
“When this occurs, the MD-80 maintenance manual calls for turning off the automatic reverse thrust system, finding the cause of the excess temperature and correcting the cause before turning the system on again,” the FAA said.
“Allegiant, however, did not determine the cause of the excess temperature. … Instead, the carrier deactivated the system on April 14, 2018, and installed an inoperative placard on it.”
The FAA said that Allegiant then operated the airplane on 28 passenger flights between April 14 and April 22 without having determined what caused the temperature exceedance.
“As a result, Allegiant violated the terms of its FAA-issued operations specifications,” the FAA said.
After receiving notification from the FAA, the airline will have 30 days to respond.