The FAA Wants To Fine Chicago Airport $1.56 Million

On November 11th last year, an Envoy Airlines flight slid off the runway landing at Chicago O’Hare airport in bad weather. Now, the FAA has released a statement saying that the airport did not take appropriate measures to warn airlines about the challenging weather conditions. As such, the FAA has proposed a fine of just over $1.56 million. The FAA also claims that this is not the first time the airport has failed to follow proper procedures.

Chicago O'Hare airport
The FAA has issued a fine to the CDA because it claims the airport failed to act on proper bad weather procedures. Photo: United Airlines

According to the FAA’s statement this week, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) did not follow the correct procedure to warn airlines about landing conditions. The FAA said,

The CDA’s Snow and Ice Control Plan requires the airport to take specific safety actions if two consecutive flight crews report poor braking action after landing.”

Allegedly, more than two crews reported difficulty when landing on runway 10-Left. However, the airport did not take action to warn future crews that landing may be complicated. According to records, a further 43 flights landed in the bad weather, including the Envoy Airlines flight, which slipped off the runway because of braking difficulties.

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Not an isolated event

While this is worrying, a $1.56 million fine may seem excessive. However, this is not the first time the FAA has spoken to Chicago Airport about similar incidences. The FAA issued the airport with a warning in January 2017 after “similar violations” in 2015 and 2016.

The CDA has 30 days to respond to the FAA. In a statement sent to Simple Flying, Matt McGrath, a spokesperson for the CDA said,

“CDA has been in regular and collaborative communication with all appropriate regulatory and investigatory bodies to ensure the efficacy of our policies and procedures, as well as to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“While we are totally aligned with the FAA on this goal, we do not agree with the findings and allegations as laid out here, and intend to avail ourselves of our right to submit additional and mitigating information.”

Aer Lingus, Airbus A321, Economy
Snow and rain on the runway can cause braking problems. Airports are supposed to warn crew if other flights experience difficulties. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

A second fine for Chicago

Surprisingly, this is not the first time the FAA has tried to fine Chicago airport this year. In May, the FAA released a very similar statement saying it would fine the airport $1.29 million for “allegedly violating aircraft rescue and firefighting regulations.”

In the statement, the FAA claimed that between in 2019, the CDA falsified firefighter training logs. At the time, the CDA said it was working with the FAA to resolve the situation and prevent further violations.

This is not the first time the FAA has issued a fine to the CDA this year for rule violations. Photo: Chicago O’Hare Airport

The FAA is yet to respond to our request for a comment on how it is working with the Chicago Department of Aviation to resolve either case. However, the CDA must be working hard to ensure it doesn’t risk a third fine within the space of a year.

Let us know what you think of the situation in the comments section. Have you flown into Chicago O’Hare airport recently? How was your experience?