Airline has been fined $1.6m after its pilots and co-pilots were found to have used fake medical certificates in flight
A major airline has been hit with a fine of more than $1 million after its co-captains and pilots were found guilty of using bogus medical certificates for medical treatment in the run-up to the 2009 coronavirus pandemic.
In a judgement handed down on Friday, the Federal Court in Brisbane said Air New Zealand’s pilots and flight attendants, who flew with the airline between September 2009 and February 2010, “used fraudulent medical certificates” for treatments and travel expenses.
“The flight crew members were not entitled to medical leave and they failed to report for duty,” Justice Christopher Jones wrote in the ruling.
Air New Zealand also admitted it had “failed to meet its obligations under the law in respect of the performance of its duties”.
The court ordered the airline to pay the fine and a penalty of $1,000.
The ruling followed a two-week hearing on whether to impose an interim penalty, to be assessed in March.
Justice Jones said the airlines actions were “disregarding” the law, but did not say what the penalty should be.
After the hearing, a spokesperson for Air New York said the airline “will continue to work closely with our regulators and relevant authorities in the United States to implement appropriate and consistent policies”.
A spokesperson for the US National Transportation Safety Board said it would “look at the findings of the court”.
In addition to the penalty, the airline is ordered to pay an administrative fine of $2,000 and an injunction of $400.
It is also ordered to conduct a “comprehensive review” of its medical records, including medical certification records.
A spokeswoman for Air Canada said the corporation would review the findings.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand government said it was reviewing its actions following the ruling, and was also “looking at what can be done to implement policies that will make it easier for air carriers to comply with the rules”.