FAA to Fine Continental, American Eagle

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Reuters reports that the FAA proposed hefty fines against Continental and American Eagle for a host of maintenance violations. Continental is ordered to pay $275,000 and American Eagle will be charged $330,000. Both airlines have 30 days to appeal the ruling.

According to Reuters, the FAA says Continental flew 73 flights with two Boeing 737 aircraft equipped with incorrect landing gear parts. American Eagle operated an Embraer regional jet on 12 flights with broken seats and armrests. American Eagle said it disagreed with the penalty, which stems from a 2008 inspection, and called it excessively harsh. Quite frankly, Continental's violation sounds more serious, and therefore deserving of a bigger fine.

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Continental has not commented on its fine yet. The penalty stems from the installation of incorrect main landing gear wheel-tire assemblies in 2009.

Typically, fines are reduced when they are appealed, usually by deferring a portion of the penalty for 12 to 18 months, during which time the airline must demonstrate renewed compliance with FAA guidelines. My guess is roughly a third of the fine in each case will be deferred.

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