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Tue, Sep 10, 2019

Mechanic Accused Of Sabotaging AA Flight Had Been Fired By Alaska Airlines

Allegedly Tampered With Navigation System Of An Airliner Scheduled To Fly From Miami To The Bahamas

The mechanic who is accused of tampering with the navigation system of an American Airlines jet in what he said was a protest over contract negotiations has a history of issues with his employers.

CNN reports that Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, 60, was arrested by the FBI last Thursday and charged with willfully damaging, destroying or disabling an aircraft. He allegedly tampered with the aircraft's air data module (ADM) system, which reports aircraft speed, pitch and other critical data, on July 17, according to the criminal complaint. In an interview with investigators, Alani "admitted that he accessed the ADM" and "inserted a piece of foam into the ADM's inlet where the line connects and that he applied super glue to the foam so as to prevent the foam from coming off," the complaint says.

The obstruction was discovered before the plane departed from Miami during pre-flight checks.

Alani said that he did not intend to cause the aircraft to crash, but told investigators that he was upset that an ongoing contract dispute between American and union workers had cost him money. He said he tampered with the airplane so that he could collect overtime pay to repair it.

But this is not the first time Alani has had an issue with an airline for which he worked. Fox News reports that Alani worked for both American and Alaska Airlines from 1998 until Alaska fired him in 2008 due to performance issues. The FAA briefly suspended his mechanic's certificate, according to the report.

In a discrimination lawsuit filed by Alani against Alaska that was not successful, the airline said he had found Alani had clocked in to work for Alaska and American at the same time on at least three occasions.

Alani is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court September 20.

(Image from file)

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