Wednesday, September 01, 2010

American Airlines MD-80 flight 577. American Airlines names new base maintenance chief
American Airlines names GE exec William Collins as new base maintenance chief

On Wednesday September 1, 2010, 5:11 pm EDT

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- American Airlines named a new vice president for base maintenance on Wednesday, another new face in a department that has been in the spotlight since a 2008 maintenance snafu that led the Federal Aviation Administration to seek a $24.2 million civil penalty.

William Collins has been an executive at GE Aviation, most recently leading its electric power division. American said Collins will be based in Tulsa, Okla., and oversee the airline's maintenance at its repair, overhaul, and modification bases, which employ more than 8,800 people maintaining more than 600 planes.

American's last vice president for base maintenance was Fred Cleveland, who had been with American from January of 2008 until being put in charge of technical operations for American Eagle, the regional airline which, like American, is owned by Fort Worth-based AMR Corp.
Collins will report to Jim Ream, American's Senior Vice President for Maintenance & Engineering.

Ream himself was hired in December from ExpressJet airlines, after having worked in several finance jobs at American from 1987 to 1995. He replaced an executive who retired after 41 years at American.

Last week the FAA said it would seek a record penalty of $24.2 million against American over improper fastening of wires on its McDonnell Douglas MD-80-series jets that it said could lead to fires and even fuel tank explosions. The FAA said in 2008 that American flew more than 14,000 flights on the MD-80-series jets, which made up about half its fleet at the time.

American has said the FAA concerns were overblown and that passenger safety was never in danger. It's common for airlines to challenge FAA penalties or negotiate to reduce them.

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