Alaska Airlines to meet deadline, Kelly says

Posted: Sunday, June 04, 2000

SEATTLE - Alaska Airlines will avoid a potential shutdown by meeting a seven-day federal government deadline for showing improvement in its maintenance practices, the airline's top executive said Friday.

John Kelly, chairman and chief executive of Alaska Air Group, the airline's parent company, said the concerns raised by the Federal Aviation Administration have largely been addressed. The agency, after finding nearly 150 cases where aircraft maintenance could not be documented, proposed to strip the airline of the right to perform maintenance on its planes.

Such a step could eventually force the airline to park its planes and stop flying.

``I'm pleased to say that many if not all of the findings the FAA outlined in its news release this morning were addressed by us over recent weeks as soon as they were raised by the FAA during its audit,'' Kelly said during a news conference Friday. He declined to say whether any employee would be disciplined because of the FAA's findings.

The FAA's investigation is proceeding and enforcement actions - usually civil fines - could be announced in coming weeks, said Nick Lacey, director of Flight Standards Service for the FAA.

Shares of Alaska Airlines tumbled 4 percent on the news, falling $1.1875 to close at $30.75 in Friday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The FAA launched an intense inspection of the airline after the Jan. 31 crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 in the Pacific Ocean off Los Angeles, killing all 88 aboard. Allegations of unsafe maintenance work, which first surfaced in 1998, were thrust back into the spotlight.

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