CONTINENTAL EMERGENCY LANDINGS ON GUAM ‘PRECAUTIONARY’

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Five incidents in a month prompt concerns

By Janela Buhain HAGÅTÑA, GUAM (Marianas Variety, Oct. 6, 2011) – The five emergency landings Continental Airlines had to make in recent weeks were "precautionary" in nature, says the carrier’s communications director for Asia-Pacific, Koji Nagata.

Nagata was responding to inquiries Variety made regarding the five emergency landings the airline performed at the Guam International Airport, some of which occurred within days of each other.

"Typically, a declaration of an emergency is precautionary in nature, as was true with the cases in question; and the situations were effectively managed without incident," said Nagata in an email to Variety.

Continental Flight 001 from Honolulu to Guam made an emergency landing on Sunday, Oct. 2 because of problems with the aircraft’s nose gear.

The aircrew performed a couple of fly-bys for ground crew to confirm the landing gear was down.

An emergency landing was called and response units were on standby for the landing of the B767-400 aircraft. Continental Flight 001 landed without incident at approximately 6:57 p.m. The estimated time of arrival was at 6 p.m.

Nagata said there were a total of 247 passengers on board the plane at the time of the emergency landing. He added Continental is currently investigating the cause of the landing gear problem.

Four other emergency landings were executed previously, beginning on Sept. 2, when outbound Flight 197 had to turn around mid-flight because of electronic equipment problems; on Sept. 11, when inbound Flight 197 made an emergency landing coming from Fiji; then two days later, on Sept. 13, inbound Flight 166 performed an emergency landing from Fukuoka, Japan; and on Sept. 22, inbound Flight 117 from Cairns, Australia, after experiencing air speed and altitude equipment failure.

"United/Continental never compromises on safety —it’s our top priority. We treat any issue aboard our aircraft seriously and our pilots will not hesitate to declare an emergency when the situation warrants in ensuring landing priority and returning our passengers and crew safely to the ground as quickly as possible," said Nagata.

"We are proud of our more than 40 years of reliable service to the Guam and Micronesia community. As we go forward to complete the merger, we remain committed to providing our community with safe, clean and reliable service."

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