Maintenance issue to cost Continental $230K

By Associated Press
Posted July 27, 2010 at 4:32 p.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration plans a $230,000 civil penalty against Continental Airlines because it botched a nose wheel replacement on one airplane.

The FAA said Continental failed to install the washer during the replacement of a nose wheel on a Boeing 767 on Aug. 12, 2008. The plane flew 22 flights over 15 days before the problem was discovered, and the washer was installed. The fine amounts to $10,454 for each flight without the washer.
The FAA said the maintenance manual for replacing the nose wheel tire warns, “Make sure that the axle washer is installed. If the washer is not installed, the wheel bearing can fail.” And the new nose wheels come with a tag that alerts the mechanic to install the washer, the FAA said.

FAA inspectors found the violation during a records check and noted three identical earlier violations, the agency said.

Continental has 30 days to respond to the FAA notice dated July 19. Continental spokeswoman Julie King said the airline is reviewing the FAA allegations. “These are isolated incidents from over two years ago that have since been resolved,” she said.

Shares of Houston-based Continental lost 44 cents, to $25.21, Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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