Lufthansa to be Fined $6.4M USD by FAA

You might expect a 5-star airline to follow all the rules.

Lufthansa is accused of knowingly flying to San Diego and Philadelphia without permission by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Lufthansa has flown to San Diego for over a year while unauthorized by the FAA. Therefore, the administration has proposed a fine of $6,428,000 to Lufthansa for their actions. Germany’s five-star flag carrier has 30 days to respond to the FAA regarding the matter.

A Lufthansa A340 landing in San Diego.

The Federal Aviation Administration accused Lufthansa of operating to San Deigo in breach of its operations specification for a period of 431 days from March 22nd 2018 to May 27th 2019. During this period of time, Lufthansa is alleged to have flown an Airbus A340 between Frankfurt and San Diego approximately 300 times in each direction. Furthermore, they are alleged of flying between Frankfurt and Philadelphia about 146 times.

A spokesperson responded to Simple Flying, stating:

“Lufthansa is fully cooperating with the FAA on this matter and will be addressing the regulatory issues involved with the Agency. Lufthansa is globally committed to compliance with all laws and regulations. There are no allegations raised by the FAA that the security or safety of any flights was compromised in any respect. The safety and security of our passengers remain the highest priority of the Lufthansa Group.”

What do you think of this fine? Is it too large, too small, or just right?




Why would they even try that? Not the brightest CEO on the board…


I’m not sure how an airline can fly into US territory without actually getting permission for such a Long period of time…

As for the fine, I really have mixed feelings about it. I’d say it’s just right, as this isn’t really a small issue.

Thanks for the report!


Woah, this is interesting, I don’t have much to say this time around as I’m not really invested into this story as of yet, but as for the fine, I would it is about right. Now since they are accused of flying into airspace they were not allowed to and doing so for over a year into San Diego without permission… well, that time-span does make me lean towards that this is a major offence, but at the same time, the fine doesn’t seem that big in comparison to Lufthansa’s economical size as company, so I think that even if they were to go along with everything the FAA is saying by not countering the accusation, then they’d still be alright after all this.

It does leave a weird thought in my head knowing all this, next time I board a US-bound LH flight… But hey, these things happen to companies, not every move one does, results in brilliance, so we’ll have to wait and see how Lufthansa decides to go from here and how they will handle the situation.


So what happens next? Are they not going to be able to KSAN until they get permission?

Also, I’ve been on multiple of Lufthansa’s a340s that go to San Diego for connecting flights. Sort of scary to think about now hahah


How did it take them this long to notice this?


You are not the only one who is thinking this exact same question. 🤔🤔


@Bravo59 Not until they pay the fine and get permission.

@RTG113 @BennyBoy About 460 days. I’m surprised it took the FAA that long to notice.


Well, I’m suprised. How could an international carrier fly places without permission for so long. We get it when a small US airline does this. But a flagship carrier from another continent, wow. I’ll be the 100th person to ask this, how did it take this long for the FAA to fond out? I feel the fine is pretty fair, not overly large, not overly small.

The “428” in this is the same number as DLH428, Charlotte daily Lufthansa service. So, I have to do it:


The Lufthansa 747 is the thing I love to see flying into PHL everyday, and why didn’t the FAA know?

How did they do it fir over a year then?

Just putting a random thought out there, the FAA was likely aware but if they wait longer, the fine is probably going to be more and they would be given more money 🤷🏻‍♂️

The United States government is all about money anyways, and they likely thought if nothing wrong was going on with the flight, they’d wait a while… no one will probably know though.

1 Like

Wow that’s crazy! I guess I saw a Lufthansa 747 illegally landing in Philly last month 😬

1 Like

Took the FAA a year to fine them. Jeez.

1 Like

They fly by my house at 7 thousand feet every day so I’ve seen a lot of illegal activity going on recently 😬


How has that only just been noticed?


Wait so Lufthansa didn’t get the approval to fly to San Diego and Philadelphia? That’s interesting to hear!

It’s also funny about how the FAA decides to take action now rather than earlier


I think the fine is way too high. I mean, I do not think the FAA has just realized that Lufthansa is flying to these destinations without permission. They are like “Let’s wait a year so that we can demand an even higher fine”.
In addition to that, the safety was not endangered in any way.

1 Like

Well, I remember seeing it land at KSAN all the time, either on YT or on FR24. I didn’t know they weren’t allowed to!

Honestly, I think this is too big of a deal to go unnoticed. They’re flying into US territory without permission. And the fine, Lufthansa is so big it really isn’t much for them and for what they did.