WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration slapped Delta Air Lines with a $2-million fine Wednesday, saying it had violated a long list of maintenance and safety rules.
The FAA said it will suspend $500,000 of the fine until it determines whether the airline complies with new safety orders.
FAA Administrator Thomas C. Richards said Delta had taken "aggressive actions to correct deficiencies."
"The airline is now operating in accordance with the FAA's safety standards," Richards said.
Russ Heil, a Delta vice president, said that after a special FAA inspection last year, the airline "made changes or implemented programs that will cure all of the deficiencies."
"Delta is dedicated to the highest level of safety and to full compliance with FAA procedures," he said.
Neil Monroe, a Delta spokesman at corporate headquarters in Atlanta, said the primary problem was not one of quality maintenance but of record-keeping.
"We didn't have the paperwork in the right place to be able to say to a mechanic, 'This is the work that needs to be done,' " he said.
Monroe asserted that Delta's procedures are now in "A-1 shape."
The FAA said a special inspection of Delta--using selected FAA staff members who do not normally work with the airline--was completed in February, 1991.
The inspection team uncovered 20 violations of FAA regulations, the agency said, adding that 42 other violations were documented by other FAA offices, some as recently as last summer.
The FAA said the violations uncovered by the team of inspectors included:
* Operating an airliner on 63 flights while ignoring an FAA order to inspect the aircraft for cracks in the rudder control system.
* Operating seven airplanes on 138 flights without complying with an FAA directive intended to prevent binding of a device known as an aileron, which controls rolling movements.
* Operating the auxiliary power unit of a Boeing 737 a total of 3,229 hours beyond its normal maintenance check.