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FORT WORTH (AP/CBSDFW.COM) – American Airlines said that it will inspect eight of its planes after loose seats were found on at least two different jets in the last three days.
American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said Monday that there could be a problem with the way certain seats fit into tracking on the floor of the Boeing 757 planes. Huguely said that the airline has notified the Federal Aviation Administration.
On Saturday, a flight from Boston to Miami made an emergency landing in New York after three seats on the Boeing 757 came loose shortly after takeoff. According to the Fort Worth-based airline, three passengers in the affected row were moved to other seats. There were 21 First Class and 154 Main Cabin passengers on the flight. Passengers aboard the flight were placed on another aircraft for the trip to Miami.
The airline said that it is conducting an internal investigation to determine why the row of seats became loose.
A second plane on a New York-to-Miami route was discovered to have loose seats on Monday. American Airlines confirmed on Tuesday that one of these two planes experienced similar loose seat issues on September 26, during a flight from Vail, Colorado to DFW International Airport.
Larry Pike, president of the Transportation Workers Union Local 567 based at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, which does much of the maintenance work for the airline, said that the loose seats were handled by an outsourced company called TIMCO Aviation Services out of Boston.
Pike added that more rows on that original problem flight were found with the same install issue. He believes that a locking mechanism which needs to be installed on the row was not there, and theorizes that this may have allowed the bolts to loosen up with vibration.
American Airlines said that the work was done by its own maintenance and contract maintenance, and has not narrowed the problem down to any one location or work group.
Over the last couple weeks, American Airlines pilots have come under fire for delaying or canceling flights due to safety problems. Aviation experts said that the loose row of seats could bolster the pilot claims. American Airlines said that it in no way believes this was intentional or the result of a work action of any kind.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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