Money is in the air! Well, sort of. American Airlines has paid a $22.1 million settlement for falsely reporting the times it transferred U.S. mail to foreign postal services. By failing to accurately report accurate transfer times of U.S. mail, American Airlines violated the False Claims Act. As a result, the Justice Department hit the company with a fairly hefty fee.
How Airlines Help Deliver the Mail (and Packages) for USPS
Believe it or not, commercial airlines help make the global postal system run smoothly. USPS actually doesn’t have many planes in its fleet, yet the public expects the organization to deliver the mail quickly. So, USPS contracts out out airline companies such as American Airlines to help deliver mail on a daily basis. With the help of these airlines, USPS can offer air-based transportation shipping services such as First Class Package Service, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail International, and more.
How These Contracts Work
Basically, the way these contracts work is that an airline American picks up mail containers from around the country. The airline also picks up mail containers from various State and Defense department facilities in foreign countries. Then, the airlines deliver the mail to numerous international and domestic domestic destinations. There, the mail is then sorted and prepared for last mile delivery.
USPS pays the airline when they submit electronic scans of the mail containers to USPS. These electronic scans tell USPS the actual time the mail reached its destination(s). These USPS contracts also specify penalties for mail that arrives late, or mail that ends up at the wrong location.
So, next time you step foot on a commercial flight, keep in mind that the suitcase you check on board may be stowed away next to large containers of mail!
American Airlines Is…Happy About the Settlement?
Oddly enough, American Airlines seemed to rather pleased with the settlement. The airline weighed in on their settlement in a statement to American Shipper.
“American is pleased that a settlement agreement was reached in this civil matter concerning problems with how we reported delivery times to the U.S Postal Service. The allegations focused on conduct that was remedied years ago, and we have invested in new equipment and procedures to ensure that we are in full compliance with our commitments.”