Jan. 26, 2021

Fines imposed by the FAA for violating its regulations have increased under the Department of Transportation’s annual adjustment to its civil penalty amounts.

The changes are mandated under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustments Act Improvements Act of 2015, which requires government agencies to adjust civil penalties annually to preserve the effectiveness of the deterrent.

The inflationary increases now mean that violation of the FAA’s hazardous materials transportation rules will result in a maximum fine of $83,439, or as much as $194,691 if that breach results in death, serious illness, severe injury or substantial destruction to property. Knowingly providing false information about an alleged violation will result in a $24,252 fine.

Maximum civil penalties related to the operation of certain aircraft not complying with Stage 3 noise levels also grow, noted the DOT.

The FAA also will now impose a $36,516 maximum penalty against anyone who interferes with cabin or flight crew, and will issue fines up to $21,292 to an individual who knowingly or recklessly operates an unmanned aircraft that interferes with law enforcement, emergency response or wildfire suppression.

The FAA also discovered that it had not increased the civil penalty for laser pointer violations so calculated a new fine of $26,614 that incorporates inflationary increases for 2018 and 2019.

This rule does not change previously assessed or enforced penalties.

“While these adjustments to federal civil penalty amounts are expected, it is prudent for everyone in aviation to be aware of what fines the FAA could impose in the coming year. Importantly, these new penalty amounts will guide the FAA in its enforcement of mask rules and in its tougher approach to unruly passengers,” said Doug Carr, NBAA vice president, regulatory and international affairs.