FAA fines Cleveland for airport's snow, ice troubles

Story highlights

  • FAA says Cleveland airport hasn't properly handled winter weather in last two years
  • In one incident, an airport safety vehicle sliding on ice into an active runway after an aircraft had begun takeoff

(CNN)The Federal Aviation Administration leveled a $735,000 fine at the city of Cleveland on Friday, saying the Ohio city's Hopkins International Airport "failed on numerous occasions" to adequately clear its runways and taxiways of snow and ice over the last two years.

The FAA says it began multiple investigations into the airport starting in 2013 related to a series of incidents, one of which included an airport safety vehicle sliding on ice into an active runway after an aircraft had begun takeoff.
In March 2015, icy conditions prohibited an aircraft from exiting the runway in adequate time, causing one aircraft to have its takeoff clearance canceled, and another flight to go around, the FAA said.
    Other incidents included two commercial aircraft that were stranded on taxiways because of "unsafe braking conditions." The FAA alleges in this case that the airport had no crew to clear the taxiways for both early morning flights. In a separate incident in February 2014, the FAA says the airport failed to follow approved winter weather plans before a pilot reported "poor to nonexistent" braking conditions, which resulted in the airport being closed.
    "Snow and ice removal at our nation's airports is a critical safety issue," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a release.
      The FAA says it worked with airport management on inclement weather planning and staffing issues, but the airport still had insufficient personnel for 19 days this past winter, prompting the fine.
      The city of Cleveland said officials there received the FAA's notice and their lawyers are reviewing and planning a response.