American Airlines Mechanic Arrested For Tampering With Aircraft With 150 People On Board
On Thursday, an employee of American Airlines was arrested and charged with “willfully damaging, destroying or disabling an aircraft,” according to court records. Veteran mechanic Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani allegedly tampered with the plane’s navigation system by gluing foam inside part of the aircraft’s tubes used for flight data.
The aircraft’s warning system alerted pilots on Flight 2843 on July 17, 2019 to Nassau, Bahamas before the plane took off, which averted possible injuries to the 150 travelers on board. Fortunately, the flight was aborted and the discovery was made when the plane was taken to a hangar. A mechanic found the tube that was obstructed with foam under the cockpit. The machinery that Alani allegedly tampered with monitors the plane’s “speed, pitch, and other critical flight data.”
Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani told federal air mashals that he was upset about stalled contract negotiations between the mechanics’ union and the airlines that left him financially hurt. Alani claimed he didn’t intend any harm to anyone onboard and that he tampered with the data module to cause a “delay or to have the flight canceled” to get overtime.
Investigators were led to Alani because he was filmed accessing the navigation system’s compartment and he was also recorded exiting the craft on the same day of the flight. Alani, who has been employed with American Airlines since 1988, is expected in federal court on Friday.