FAA APPROVES ALASKA AIRLINES MAINTENANCE PLAN
The Federal Aviation Administration Thursday approved Alaska Airlines' plan to implement and validate changes in its maintenance and operations procedures.
The FAA also notified Alaska Airlines that it has withdrawn its proposal that would have eliminated the carrier's authority to conduct heavy maintenance. The agency will maintain intensive oversight of the airline's maintenance operations to ensure the carrier's plans are implemented.
The FAA inspection was prompted by the Jan. 31 crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261. The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The FAA's inspection has focused on the airline's maintenance and operations systems at Seattle and Oakland, where the agency found “serious breakdowns in record keeping, documentation and quality assurance.”
Under the plan, Alaska Airlines will:
* Implement an expanded audit oversight program.
* Institute a redesigned general maintenance manual in conjunction with outside consultants and under the FAA's supervision.
* Create an 11-member Office of Safety, led by the company's new vice president of safety.
* Hire more than 160 new employees in the maintenance, engineering and flight operations departments.