Aviation

American Airlines mechanic arrested, charged for sabotaging flight

An American Airlines employee has been arrested after reportedly disabling an aircraft’s navigation equipment.

According to information obtained by The New York Timesauthorities said an American Airlines (AA) mechanic arrested on Thursday last week for sabotaging the navigation equipment on a flight from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, did so because he was upset about an “impasse” over a union contract.

The mechanic’s action forced the grounding of Flight 2834, on 17 July, which was reportedly carrying some 150 people, after crew on board received an error message and aborted take-off, the news outlet reported.

He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of his charge of willfully damaging, destroying or disabling an aircraft.

Security camera footage reportedly showed the mechanic had gained access to the compartment housing the Boeing 737-800’s air data module system, where he inserted a “piece of foam” to obstruct the equipment.

According to a criminal complaint, the mechanic said “his intention was not to cause harm to the aircraft or its passengers” and he explained to law enforcement that he was “upset at the stalled contract dispute between the union workers and American Airlines”, which affected him financially.

It was also revealed the mechanic had tampered with the aircraft’s equipment in order to “cause a delay” or “have the flight cancelled” in anticipation of obtaining overtime work.

Adding to the problem with the navigation equipment, a pitot tube – used to determine airspeed, a measurement vital to controlling the plane – was also found to be loose, authorities said.

American Airlines told Travel Weekly the airline immediately notified federal law enforcement who took over the investigation “with our full cooperation”.

“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,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

“At the time of the incident, the aircraft was taken out of service, maintenance was performed and after an inspection to ensure it was safe, the aircraft was returned to service.”

Passengers boarded a new aircraft which then re-departed for Nassau.

In a letter to American Airlines team members, David Seymour, senior vice president of integrated operations, said recent news reports of “an extremely serious” incident that occurred over the summer are “disturbing and disappointing to all of us”.

“The allegations involve one individual who compromised the safety of one of our aircraft. Fortunately, with appropriate safety protocols and processes, this individual’s actions were discovered and mitigated before our aircraft flew. We have been cooperating with authorities in this matter and will continue to do so,” he said, adding the airline

Seymour added AA is home to more than 15,000 tech ops professionals – more than any other airline in the world – and that the airline is “committed to reaching a joint agreement for one contract” for its “entire tech ops team”.

His comments came two days after the TWU-IAM Association, which represents some 30,000 of American Airlines’ pilots, announced mediation talks between the airline and the union over contracts would resume. The union’s announcement came a day before the mechanic’s arrest.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Women from 10 flights taken for invasive medical examinations in Qatar, says Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister

More troubling details have emerged over the Qatar airport incident involving a number of Australian women.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tasmania plans to reopen to NSW from early November

by Christian Fleetwood

Have your NSW clients been yearning for a quarantine-free trip to Tasmania? Well, they can consider this an early Christmas present from Premier Gutwein.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas and Virgin announce new Aussie routes

Tell your clients to pack their bags, because the two airlines have added a range of new local routes, reintroductions and expanded services.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with YTL Hotels’ Luke Hurford

We caught up with YTL Hotels’ senior vice president of strategy to find out how he’s been faring during the pandemic. However, it was hard to hear him through the layer of snow he keeps on his face.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

“GREAT SUCCESS”: Kazakhstan cashes in on new Borat film in latest tourism campaign

In some very nice news for Sacha Baron Cohen fans, it looks like Borat’s home country has finally decided to accept him… sort of.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Plane passenger slaps flight attendant after refusing to wear a mask

Just in case you need another reason to hate anti-maskers, have a geeze at this video of an unruly passenger’s shocking behaviour.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Princess Cruises pushes back its pause on local sailings

Meanwhile, Travel Weekly has extended its pause on office drinks after a particularly bad incident involving a pot plant and copious amounts of slivovitz.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

TUNE IN: New TV show to highlight Australia’s ‘Roads Less Travelled’

Get the popcorn ready and watch the client inquiries roll in, because Network 10 is debuting a new show that places domestic travel front and centre.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Globus and Cosmos launch new Australian and NZ tours

This press release was accompanied by a couple of bottles of wine from the good folk at GFOB, and Travel Weekly’s editor is already on the seocnd one, so please excuse any typos.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“Offensive, grossly inappropriate” vaginal examinations of female plane passengers reported to Australian Federal Police

The federal government is demanding answers from the relevant authorities, after 13 Australian women were forced to undergo invasive medical examinations at an international airport.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

NSW New England region gets its first five-star hotel

Bespoke leather bedheads, marble bedside tables and bathrooms, 4K smart TVs, Tesla charging stations… it’s fair to say this property has been pimped out.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Victoria celebrates second ‘donut day’, as tourism industry reacts to easing of restrictions

by Christian Fleetwood

Travel Weekly staff are enjoying a few Krispy Kremes in celebration of Victoria’s consecutive ‘donut days’, so much so that we’ve all had to undo the top button of our pants.

Share

CommentComments