FAA Proposes $325,000 Civil Penalty Against Continental Airlines <


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FAA Proposes $325,000 Civil Penalty Against Continental Airlines

Shane Nolan

May 14, 2010 - The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed to assess a civil penalty of $325,000 against Continental Airlines, Inc., for operating an aircraft on at least a dozen commercial flights without properly maintaining its right main landing gear.

The FAA alleges that on December 20, 2008, the crew of a Continental Boeing 737 saw a warning light on the right main landing gear indicator after the gear retracted on a flight from Houston to Los Angeles. After discussing the situation with Continental maintenance control, the crew elected to continue the flight.


However, the flight diverted to Phoenix after the crew noticed the aircraft was burning an excessive amount of fuel. On the ground, Continental maintenance workers inspected the landing gear but did not make a required entry in the aircraft’s maintenance log or any other maintenance record about the abnormal landing gear indication.

The FAA alleges the airline operated the aircraft on at least 12 additional passenger flights before the abnormal gear indication was addressed by mechanics, in violation of Federal Aviation Regulations.

“Air carriers cannot let maintenance issues lapse,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “When a problem is discovered, it needs to be corrected immediately.”

Continental Airlines has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.

Continental Airlines is an American airline based and headquartered in Continental Center I in Downtown Houston, Texas. It is the fourth-largest airline in the US based on revenue passenger miles. Continental operates flights to destinations throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions. Principal operations are from its three hubs at Newark Liberty International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

The origin of Continental Airlines dates to the 1934 formation of Varney Speed Lines, which operated airmail and passenger services in the American Southwest. The carrier was renamed Continental Air Lines in 1937, and expanded its domestic U.S. network in the 1960s with jet aircraft. International flights to Southeast Asia and South Pacific destinations began in 1978 following industry deregulation. Continental was embroiled in ownership struggles in the 1980s, and entered bankruptcy in 1983 and 1990. The carrier exhibited a financial and operational turnaround after 1996, and embarked on international route expansion in the 2000s.
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