An American Airlines mechanic is facing charges after getting caught sabotaging planes to cause delays.
Whenever your flight is delayed, it always seems due to events beyond your control. And most of the time it is--some mechanical failure or other just needs to get before the plane can fly. You wouldn’t want to be 30,000 feet up when something goes wrong, right? So you sigh and order another drink at the airport bar.
Almost always the issue is working on quickly and efficiently by airport mechanics. We say almost, because one mechanic in Miami, Florida wasn’t working too hard at all. In fact, he was deliberately sabotaging planes to keep them on the ground and to rack up more overtime hours.
According to USA Today, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani was charged in US District Court in Florida for tampering with aircraft about to take off. His plan? Keep airplanes on the ground so he can accrue more overtime pay all while looking busy fixing a plane he deliberately broke.
Alani's plot was discovered by the pilots of American Airlines flight 2834 flying from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas. As the plane was getting ready to depart on July 17th, the takeoff was aborted due to sudden instrument failure. Smelling something fishy, the pilots recommended that the surveillance footage be reviewed to see what happened to the plane.
Sure enough, Alani is pictured at the gate before the flight, deliberately placing a dark piece of styrofoam over the plane's ADM (air data module). That's the thing that measures the aircraft's speed and altitude using air pressure.
Alani was arrested last Thursday and will be in court Friday to face criminal charges. According to the police report, he said he was "upset at the stalled contract dispute between the union workers and American Airlines, and that this dispute had affected him financially."
That stalled contract dispute has been something of a thorny issue. Another lawsuit was filed last May by American Airlines against the airline mechanics unions, including the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (TWU), accusing them of deliberately slowing their work and causing massive flight delays in an attempt to encourage AA back to the table.