Eastern Airlines and several of its top managers were indicted today on criminal charges of falsifying aircraft maintenance records, log books and other aircraft-safety documents.
The 60-count indictment alleges a fraudulent scheme to try to minimize flight delays and cancellations that resulted in flights by improperly maintained or repaired airplanes.
The violations allegedly took place at John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports in New York, Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta and Eastern headquarters in Miami.
Atty. Gen. Dick Thornburgh said in a statement that the alleged conspiracy "strikes a raw nerve in anyone who has ever boarded an airplane. Thousands of innocent passengers may have been put at risk every day by the criminal actions of these defendants."
Eastern faces a maximum fine of $30 million. Each individual defendant faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.