Passenger seats on a third American Airlines flight came loose as the plane was airborne, the troubled airline acknowledged Tuesday.
Seats came loose on a flight last week between Vail, Colo., and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, following similar problems on a flight Saturday and another Monday, the airline said.
The seat problems come as American Airlines, whose parent company, AMR, filed for bankruptcy last year, is mired in a labor dispute with its pilots. The airline also recently issued 11,000 layoff notices as part of its efforts to cut labor costs by 20%.
But American Airlines officials say the problem with the seats is a mechanical issue not related to its labor problems.
“We’re working very diligently to gather all the facts related to our 757 seats issue,” said Kent Powell, a spokesman for the airline. “Our maintenance teams continue to inspect aircraft in our 757 fleet to determine what caused the issue.”
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A spokesman for the Allied Pilots Assn., the union representing American Airlines pilots, said he doesn’t think the seat problems are related to the labor dispute.
“We are certainly curious about what is going on,” said union spokesman Gregg Overman. Union leaders are scheduled to meet Tuesday to decide if and when to relaunch contract negotiations with the airline.
The airline began in 2010 to reconfigure the seats in its fleet of 106 Boeing 757 planes, with plans to complete the work by 2015. The work will include the addition of new seats, new cabin interiors, and updated in-flight entertainment throughout the aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it is also looking into the seat problems.
Business reporter Hugo Martin and columnist David Lazarus will discuss American Airlines’ problems at 2 p.m. today in a live video discussion. If you want to ask them a question, post it in the comments section below.
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