Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL and CAL.A) said today it is cooperating fully with French authorities investigating the crash of Air France`s Concorde, flight number AF4590.
Officials with the French Government`s Bureau Enquetes-Accidents (BEA) officially notified Continental on Friday September 1 that they wanted to inspect a Continental DC 10 that had transited through Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris shortly before the accident on July 25.
The French authorities wanted to see whether a 17-inch by one-inch piece of metal found on the runway in Paris after the accident could have come from the Continental aircraft in question.
On Saturday September 2, in Houston, representatives of Continental, the BEA, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board inspected the aircraft. They determined that a piece of a metal wear strip, similar in shape to the piece of metal found on the runway in Paris, was missing from the space between the fan reverser and the core door on the right-wing engine of the Continental DC 10. It has not been determined definitively that the metal piece found on the runway is the piece of wear strip missing from the Continental aircraft. Visual inspection suggests that it could have come from Continental`s aircraft. The absence of a piece of wear strip does not affect the safe operation of an aircraft.
After their inspection, the authorities released the aircraft for return to normal operations. The airline is making the appropriate repairs to return the aircraft to normal service.
On July 25, the same Continental DC 10 operated as flight number 55 between Charles de Gaulle and Newark International Airport. It carried a cockpit crew of three, 11 flight attendants and 238 passengers. The crew did not report any related irregularities during the flight. No related irregularities have been reported on this aircraft since that flight, either.
The wear strip on the right-wing engine had been replaced on July 9, 2000, during a routine engine inspection.
Because the investigation and Continental`s full cooperation in that investigation are continuing, Continental feels it is inappropriate to comment further at this time.