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CNN Today

FAA Satisfied with Alaska Airlines Maintenance

Aired June 29, 2000 - 2:11 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The federal government this afternoon released the results of its month-long investigation of aircraft maintenance at Alaska Airlines. The FAA had threatened to end the airline's authority to maintain its own planes. That follows the crash of an Alaska jet that killed all 88 people aboard.

We get the latest on today's government action from CNN's Carl Rochelle -- Carl.

CARL ROCHELLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, it has to be good news -- considered good news for Alaska Airlines. You recall earlier this month the FAA had put them on notice that they were about to lose the authority to perform heavy maintenance on their own aircraft. The FAA said that they had looked at the airline, found that it had serious breakdowns of record keeping, documentation, and quality assurance, and that maintenance personnel had not followed FAA procedures.

It gave the airlines seven days to come up with a plan. Then the FAA would look at that within 30 days, they would give them an answer back. They had to take care of this business.

The airline committed to hire more than 130 additional mechanics, according to the FAA; created an executive level safety position reporting directly to CEO; and completely revised the heavy maintenance procedures contained in the airline's maintenance manual.

The FAA says it is satisfied.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK LACY, FAA: Alaska has made a commitment to its government in a very detailed way, as you can see, as to what they are going to do. I will hold them to that. Not that they just do it, but what they do is effective. And if it is not, we will take appropriate action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROCHELLE: Now, the FAA says it will go back and look at Alaska Airlines again in mid-July. And if they are all set, if everything is OK, then they will ease up on the looks that they are taking at them. They will be back in another 90 days to take a look, and another 90 after that to make sure everything is OK. Interestingly, what the FAA learned in this investigation of Alaska Airlines caused them to now decide to broaden similar inspections to nine major airlines. They are going to begin within the next 120 days.

I am Carl Rochelle, CNN, reporting live from Washington.

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