FAA: Sun Country failed to properly drug, alcohol screen flight crew

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Sun Country Airlines is facing a $115,000 fine after federal regulators say the company failed to give several employees – including a pilot and a number of flight attendants – drug and alcohol screenings prior to hiring them.

The Federal Aviation Administration accused the Mendota Heights-based company of several violations of federal testing regulations, including:

  • Failing to include one pilot and seven aviation screeners in its random drug and alcohol testing pool – with the pilot having flown for seven months while not in the pool.
  • Failing to conduct pre-employment drug tests and receive verified negative results before hiring or transferring one mechanic and three flight attendants into safety-sensitive positions, with one flight attendant having performed job duties on flights before she was subjected to the drug test.
  • Transferring one employee from a "non-safety sensitive position" into a "safety sensitive" position of in-flight supervisor, without giving her another drug screening, which is required under FAA rules.

The FAA has proposed MN Airlines LLC pay a civil penalty of $114,975 for the breaches, having discovered them during an inspection of the airline's "Antidrug and Alcohol Misuse Prevention Program."

The company has 30 days from receiving an enforcement letter from the FAA in which to respond.

In a comment made to the Star Tribune, Sun Country spokesman Larry Chestler said: "Sun Country Airlines is working closely with the FAA to review these alleged violations, and to reach an appropriate resolution. We have no further comment at this time."

Last week, Sun Country announced it had reached a "tentative agreement" with pilots that will see their salaries rise following five years of negotiations.

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