Ever feel like the airlines might be messing up to inconvenience you on purpose? Well you might not be entirely wrong…
MIAMI, Fla. – An American Airlines mechanic has been arrested after reportedly sabotaging a flight that had 150 passengers aboard, AP News reported.
Why? He apparently wanted a better deal with his labor union… but negotiations had hit a snag.
Authorities say that Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani admitted to tampering with the flight’s board navigation system so that the flight would be delayed and he could collect more overtime pay.
According to AP’s story, the flight was scheduled to take off from Miami International Airport on July 17 and was bound for the Bahamas.
But those passengers would have to wait for their sunny getaway.
Investigators say that when the pilots of the aircraft began powering up the plane, they saw an error message. alerting them to a malfunction in a system that tracks speed, nose direction and other critical flight information. The pilots had no choice but to abort the takeoff.
JUST IN: American Airlines mechanic charged with sabotaging flight in order to cause a delay, allow him to work overtime https://t.co/6MSBu50WZU
— The Hill (@thehill) September 6, 2019
When mechanics showed up to inspect the navigation system, they noticed a small piece of foam glued to the ‘air data module’, an integral part of the system.
Officials reviewed security footage from the incident and caught a man driving up to the plane and appearing to work near the affected area for approximately seven minutes.
Alani’s co-workers were able to identify Alani in the video, as they say he walks with a distinctive limp.
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When confronted by authorities, “Alani stated that his intention was not to cause harm to the aircraft or its passengers,” according to the affidavit.
Investigators pressed Alani to determine why he’d taken deliberate action to sabotage the flight. Alani told them that because labor union negotiations with American Airlines had recently stalled, he was experiencing financial issues.
So in order to get some extra money, Alani’s end goal was “to cause a delay or have the flight cancelled in anticipation of obtaining overtime work,” the affidavit continued.
Last week,on 2 consecutive days,I had 2 flights on @AmericanAir out of #Miami cancelled after leaving gate due to last minute “mechanical issue”. Now we learn an American mechanic was caught sabotaging planes due to labor dispute.https://t.co/5K2gJXI1KS
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 6, 2019
American Airlines says that Alani’s case is not the only time where employees have illegally caused flights to be delayed or canceled in recent history. They say that deliberate actions have led to hundreds of canceled flights over the last few months as mechanics try and sweeten their contracts.
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American Airlines released a statement in which they said they were “taking this matter very seriously.” Negotiations with the labor unions are expected to begin again on September 16, according to the national airline. According to AP, mechanics have been trying to secure a new contract with the company for the last three years.
So the next time your flight is delayed and you think someone’s messing with you… you might just be right.