American Airlines’ nasty labor dispute with its mechanics escalated from major summer travel annoyance to scary situation when a mechanic was arrested for allegedly trying to sabotage a flight with 150 people on board.
Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, a 60-year-old mechanicat American’s Miami hub, was charged with “willfully damaging, destroying, disabling, or wrecking an aircraft” in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.
Furthermore, American pilots discovered the tempering when they got an error message as Flight 2834 from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, was getting ready to depart on July 17. They aborted takeoff, and the authorities took the plane for inspection.
In addition, surveillance footage shows Alani at the gate before the flight and the complaint says he deliberately obstructed the ADM (air data module) system using a dark, Styrofoam-type material.
Alani told law enforcement officials he was “upset at the stalled contract dispute between the union workers and American Airlines, and that this dispute had affected him financially.”
Notably, Alani, who has worked at American since 1988, said he did not intend to harm the plane or passengers. He said he tampered with the plane to cause a flight delay or cancellation in hopes of earning overtime, the complaint says. Moreover, he is due to make his first court appearance Friday afternoon in Miami.
However, American filed a lawsuit in May against its mechanics unions, saying a concerted work slowdown caused thousands of flight cancellations and delays.
Moreover, American said mechanics were unlawfully engaging in a slowdown to gain leverage in negotiations. The lawsuit said they were taking an “inordinately long time to repair aircraft” and refusing to work overtime.
“The odds of this being random as opposed to concerted activity is less than one-in-one billion,” the lawsuit says.