American Airways Boeing 737-800 airplane seen in Caracas Simón Bolívar Worldwide Airport, Venezuela.
Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Pictures
An American Airways mechanic has been arrested and charged with sabotaging an plane’s navigation system earlier than a flight in July, forcing crew to abort takeoff from Miami, in keeping with an affidavit filed in federal court docket on Thursday.
The affidavit stated the mechanic advised legislation enforcement that he was upset about stalled contract negotiations with the corporate and that the “dispute had affected him financially.”
Flight 2834 was about to depart for Nassau, Bahamas on July 17 with 150 folks on board, when an error message appeared after the engines have been began up. The crew aborted takeoff and returned to the gate. The airplane was taken out of service for upkeep, American Airways stated. Passengers deplaned and American offered a distinct plane for the flight.
The mechanic advised legislation enforcement officers he inserted a bit of froth into the inlet of the airplane’s air knowledge module, which measures the airplane’s pitch, velocity and different info, in keeping with the affidavit, which was first reported by the Miami Herald.
“At American we have an unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our customers and team members and we are taking this matter very seriously,” American Airways spokeswoman Leslie Scott stated.
American returned the airplane that aborted takeoff again to service after an inspection and “immediately notified federal law enforcement who took over the investigation with our full cooperation,” Scott stated.
The mechanic, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, is about to seem in court docket on Friday, in keeping with the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace in Miami.
Alani stated “his intention was not to cause harm to the aircraft or its passengers” however to “cause a delay or have the flight cancelled in anticipation of obtaining overtime work,” in keeping with the affidavit.
A fellow mechanic discovered a unfastened pitot tube, which connects to the plane knowledge module, following which it was found that the system was obstructed, in keeping with the affidavit.
American and its mechanics have been locked in a bitter labor dispute over contract talks this 12 months. The airline has accused the unions that symbolize its some 12,000 mechanics of purposefully disrupting operations by forcing plane out of service as a way to achieve leverage in negotiations. American has stated that the unions actions has compelled it to cancel lots of of flights and delay others, including to operational challenges stemming from the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max. The unions have denied the allegations.
“From a union standpoint we wouldn’t condone even the thought of doing this,” stated Gary Peterson, a vp on the Transport Staff Union, which represents American’s mechanics.