FAA asks American Eagle to pay baggage fee: $2.475 million

The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed a civil penalty of $2.475 million on American Eagle for operating flights where it did not "adequately" ensure that baggage weight was correct.

Between January and October 2008, American Eagle allegedly conducted at least 154 passenger flights when the baggage weight listed on the airplane cargo load sheets was not the same as the data on the company's electronic weight and balance system, the FAA said in its press release on Monday morning.

"The traveling public has to be confident that airlines are following important safety rules," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "When they are not operating to the highest levels of safety, they are subject to stiff fines."

The FAA said that incorrect weight data could lead to faulty calculations needed for safe takeoffs and landings. The agency also alleges that American Eagle, which is owned by Fort Worth-based AMR Corp., operated at least 39 flights after the FAA brought the problem to the carrier's attention.

Since its initial investigation, American Eagle has revised its manual to ensure that the weight and balance information is confirmed, the FAA said.

American Eagle responded that it is committed to the safety of its customers and employees.

"We disagree with the civil penalties that are being proposed and believe they are excessive and inappropriate, in light of the fact that Eagle’s automated and manual systems have among the most reliable safeguards and protections in the industry," said American Eagle spokeswoman Andrea Huguely.