September 8, 2005

American Airlines accused of safety violations

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American Airlines, the No. 1 U.S. air
carrier, was accused of safety violations in a civil lawsuit
seeking over $1 million in fines announced on Thursday by
federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.

American, owned by AMR Corp., denied the accusation in the
lawsuit filed on September 6 in U.S. District Court in
Brooklyn, saying that it had never compromised passengers'

The lawsuit stems from a Federal Aviation Administration
inspector's claim that he observed fuel leaking from the wing
of a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 aircraft during a flight from
Orlando, Florida to LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

The inspector, who was on the flight in November 2003,
reported that he had seen the leak and pointed it out to the
flight's crew, the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office said in a

But the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline took no action to
remedy the problem and failed to record the inspector's report
in maintenance logs as required by FAA regulations, according
to the complaint.

The plane went on to fly another 53 commercial flights
until a regularly scheduled maintenance check, when the leak
was discovered in the same location originally pinpointed by
the inspector, prosecutors said.

But American disputed the complaint's version of events,
saying that a qualified mechanic was dispatched to check on the
wing immediately after the plane landed, and found no evidence
of a leak after a thorough check.

"In accordance with our FAA approved manuals and
procedures, the aircraft was subsequently dispatched,"
spokesman Tim Wagner said. "At no time was the safety of our
passengers placed at risk."

In additional to the fines, prosecutors said in a statement
said they were seeking "injunctive relief sufficient to assure
that American Airlines complies with the applicable standards
of safety, maintenance and record-keeping."