The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed USD2.9 million in civil penalties against Asia Pacific Airlines (Guam) (P9, Guam International) (APA) in connection with what the carrier says is an unresolved legal dispute with the authority over alleged regulatory issues in 2022.

In a statement on April 10, the FAA listed several alleged violations by APA, including using unqualified pilots on 163 flights, operating flights without proper authorisation, conducting flights with equipment issues, and failing to document engine monitoring and safety assessments. The airline has 30 days to respond to the enforcement letters.

Asked to comment, APA president Adam Ferguson was confident the matter would be resolved by "the end of the week".

He said the airline had "resolved these issues over 11 months ago, working with the agency and our technical partners. APA understood that a full settlement had been negotiated with the FAA and was surprised to receive these notices. Every aspect of APA’s operations - from training to manuals to maintenance – is reviewed and approved by FAA inspectors. Last month, the FAA, as well as an independent third-party technical auditor, conducted an evaluation of APA operations which came out flawless."

He added: "APA is the only airline providing essential cargo service to isolated Pacific islands, including the delivery of food, medicine, mail, and goods. We have safely operated without accident or incident for over 25 years. We look forward to quickly resolving these notices with the FAA."

The airline is a Part-121 supplemental all-cargo carrier headquartered in Guam and operates a base in Honolulu, Hawaii. It provides scheduled and ad-hoc charter services.

Asked to respond to APA's comment, an FAA spokesperson said the authority had nothing to add at this time.

The details of the FAA allegations and proposed fines are as follows:

  • USD2.4 million for allegedly using unqualified pilots on 163 B757 flights between December 20, 2022, and February 1, 2023. The FAA notified the company on December 16, 2022, that the pilots were unqualified but APA allegedly continued to use them;
  • USD250,000 for allegedly operating B757 aircraft on 121 flights without permission from an individual authorised to exercise operational control of those flights. The flights occurred between December 20, 2022, and February 1, 2023;
  • USD150,000 for allegedly conducting 30 flights with B757 aircraft that did not comply with conditions and limitations when certain equipment was out of service;
  • USD64,000 for allegedly failing to document engine monitoring and continually assess engine reliability for B757 aircraft used in extended-range twin-engine operations performance standards (ETOPS) between at least August 20, 2021, and November 22, 2021, and failing to perform the required removal of an engine that exceeded allowable temperatures on a July 21, 2022, flight; and
  • USD8,000 for alleged violations of safety risk management regulations.

Last year, APA's fleet was grounded for three months after the FAA revoked the carrier's operating authority in February 2023, alleging its pilots were not properly trained, a claim the airline rejected. It was able to resume operations in May 2023 after the authority lifted the flight suspension following proving flights. The grounding caused upheaval in the Southwest Pacific region, with the Marshall Islands declaring a state of emergency due to a shortage of goods.

APA has a fleet of four company-owned aircraft, including three B757-200(PCF) freighters (one stored at Guam International) and one B757-200PF parcel freighter stored at Orlando Sanford. It is awaiting delivery of one B757-200, according to the ch-aviation fleets module.

The airline is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tan Holdings Corporation, a holding company with operations on Guam and in the US, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and Papua New Guinea.