The Federal Aviation Administration has introduced a proposal to fine Chicago’s Department of Aviation US$1,291,621 over allegations that the workers employed by the city violated the aircraft rescue and firefighting regulations, including a falsification of training logs. Chicago city aviation officials have been given 30 days from May 8th to respond to the agency.
United Airlines Boeing 737-800 with a special Star Wars-themed livery. Photo by Chris Phan | AeroNewsX
The main focus in the investigation is the period between April and August 2019, where three firefighters at O’Hare International Airport (ORD/KORD) were assigned to a turret vehicle for 18 shifts when they had not satisfactorily completed the required training, according to the FAA. One of the three suspected firefighters had allegedly falsified training log entries to make it look like he had completed the training. The FAA also added that a captain at Midway Airport was assigned a vehicle for two shifts when she had not completed the required training, and also accessed the airfield during the course of nine complete shifts without proper escort or being appropriately badged and ID’d.
The FAA claims that the city did not ensure that the Fire Department maintained the proper required training records.
The Fire Department for Chicago’s O’Hare airport released a statement saying that it is “in receipt” of the FAA’s findings and was evaluating its options.
"Upon learning of these serious allegations, CDA (Chicago Department of Aviation) immediately began working with the FAA and CFD to initiate a series of actions, including leadership changes and the retraining of ARFF (Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting) personnel to ensure all firefighters have the proper training and certifications to operate at the airports,” the department said. “Additionally, CFD (Chicago Fire Department) training methods and record keeping practices have been overhauled to ensure those qualifications are tracked properly. This was all completed in 2019.”