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Sat, Dec 25, 2010

Merry Christmas: FAA Levies Fines Against Two Airlines

American Eagle, Continental Assessed Civil Penalties

The FAA has assessed civil penalties against two airlines in the days before Christmas. They have proposed a $275,000 civil penalty against Continental Airlines Inc., of Houston, for operating two Boeing 737-900ER (extended range) aircraft on 73 flights when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleges Continental mechanics failed to follow the 737 Airplane Maintenance Manual when they installed incorrect main landing gear wheel-tire assemblies on two aircraft and released them for service on Nov. 7 and 19, 2009.

The manual contains specific instructions to mechanics not to use wheel-tire assemblies intended for the B-737-700, -800 and -900 on the heavier B-737-900ER. The manual says using the incorrect assemblies on the heavier version of the B-737 might lead to damage to the aircraft or injury to people working on and around the aircraft.

At American Eagle of Fort Worth, the proposed penalty is $330,000 for operating an Embraer 135 regional jet on 12 revenue passenger flights when it was not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleges American Eagle mechanics failed to note broken passenger seats and armrests on two aircraft during a Dec. 18, 2008 inspection and did not follow the approved maintenance manual instructions during those inspections.  FAA inspectors discovered seats on two aircraft that would not raise and stow into the upright and locked position for takeoffs and landings.  FAA inspectors also found damaged center arm rests that would not stow in the upright and locked position.

The FAA further alleges that American Eagle used one of the aircraft on 12 revenue passenger flights between the inspection and eventual repair of the seats and armrests.  The other aircraft did not fly again until the airline completed the required work.

Both airlines have 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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