On Thursday, September 6th an American Airlines mechanic was arrested, and he’ll have his first appearance in court today. Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, the mechanic, is charged with “willfully damaging, destroying or disabling an aircraft.”
The mechanic allegedly attempted to disable a navigation system on a plane that was about to carry about 150 people to Nassau. As the pilots powered up the plane’s engines they received an error message. They returned the plane to the gate so that it could be taken out of service. After that, they determined that the system had been tampered with. They learned that a tube had been found obstructed with a hard foam material and that was the cause of the problem.
He said that his motive in tampering with the navigational system was because he was upset over stalled contract negotiations between the mechanics’ union and American Airlines that has been going on for months and that he had financial issues because of the dispute.
On the morning of July 17th, they saw him approach the plane. Then after seven minutes, he accessed the compartment where the navigational system was located.
American Airlines and the Mechanics Union
Mechanics are frustrated over the lack of agreement on a contract. American Airlines doesn’t have a mechanics and fleet service workers contract that covers both legacy US Airways and American Airlines employees six years into the merger. That caused the Mechanics Union to open negotiations with the airline so they can all avoid a strike.
Unfortunately, tensions were high and the talks stopped in April causing more resentment to the airline. That is probably the reason behind this man’s decision to tamper with the plane. He said that his intention was not to harm. He knew that the error would be caught before the plane takes flight.