Mesa Airlines Facing Hefty Fine for Federal Regulation Violations

Mesa Airlines Facing Hefty Fine for Federal Regulation Violations
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September 2, 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed a $174,600 civil penalty against Mesa Airlines for allegedly violating federal drug and alcohol testing regulations.

The FAA alleges that Mesa, a regional airline that operates flights as American Eagle and United Express, hired six employees for safety-sensitive positions—five aircraft dispatchers and one quality assurance inspector—but failed to place them in its random drug and alcohol testing pools. All five dispatchers allegedly performed safety-sensitive functions while not in the random pools.

The FAA further alleges that Mesa failed to notify the FAA that an employee who held an FAA mechanic certificate refused to submit to a drug test within the two-day period specified in the regulations, and that Mesa used a Department of Transportation (DOT) drug testing form when conducting a non-DOT drug test triggered by Mesa's determination that an accident occurred when in fact no accident occurred.

Additionally, the FAA says that Mesa contracted for Medical Review Officer (MRO) services, but allegedly failed to ensure that the contract included a provision requiring the company to transfer records, including these relating to positive drug test results, to a new MRO Mesa may hire.

The airline has 30 days from receiving the FAA's enforcement letter to respond to the agency.