United Airlines Faces $584,375 in Drug Testing Fines

Federal air safety regulators have hit United Airlines for fines of $584,375 for supposedly failing to perform proper workplace drug testing on workers in safety-sensitive areas.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accused the airline of assigning 13 employees to safety-sensitive positions before they received the test results of their drug and alcohol tests.¬†United Airlines was given 30 days to act at the FAA’s cost proposal. The offense occurred all through the airline and involved workers on the flight crew, service and maintenance teams, said FAA spokesman Paul Turk.

The FAA has also cited United Airlines for failure to use a scientific credible process to make sure that each employer of the airline’s flight crew has an equal chance of being chosen for an alcohol or random drug test. This is not the first time United Airlines have been penalized regarding their drug testing methods. In the past the FAA had warned United Airlines twice.

United Airlines have replied by issuing a statement stating, “We are reviewing the letter and will cooperate fully with the FAA to resolve their concerns.”

This current penalty was significant but not the highest action issued by the FAA. In 2009, US Airways was fined by the agency for $5.4 million for not performing mandatory inspections and maintenance on several aircrafts.United Airlines ranks as the fourth-largest airline in the United States. Last year they had accompanied 54 million passengers onto their airplanes.

United Airlines parent company UAL Corp. recently merged with Continental Airlines Inc. in October 2010. Continental served about 43 million passengers last yearn ranking sixth in the country, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Currently the two airlines are now merged with United Continental Holdings Inc. located in Chicago. They continue to function as separate airlines. United Continental is hoping to receive a single operating certificate from the FAA by the end of this year to complete the merger.



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