American Airlines says loose seats will be fixed by Saturday [Updated]

<i>This post has been updated. See note below.</i>

After days of turmoil over reports of loose passenger seats, American Airlinesannounced Thursday that it expects to fix the mechanical problem by Saturday.

The airline, whose parent company filed for bankruptcy last year, fielded three to six reports of loose seats on its Boeing 757 jets over the last week. The airline said it is still reviewing repair data to get a final count.

On Wednesday the airline announced that it had completed the inspection and repairs on 48 Boeing 757 jets.

[Updated, 3:30 p.m. Oct. 4: But on Thursday, the airline issued another statement, saying it was taking additional steps to ensure the seats do not come loose again. Some of the 757 flights will be delayed or canceled while the work is done. The airline said workers are expected to continue fixing the problem until Saturday.]

The problem, the airline said, involved a clamp used to lock the seats into the tracks attached to the floor of the cabin.

Because of ongoing labor turmoil, the airline was quick to defend the mechanics and U.S.-based contractors who have worked on the planes.

“While American Airlines employees and third-party contractors have worked on the 757 aircraft involved, we have the utmost confidence in our highly skilled maintenance and engineering teams as well as our contract maintenance providers,” said airline spokeswoman Andrea Huguely.

Meanwhile, the airline and the Allied Pilots Assn., the union representing its 10,000 pilots, announced this week plans to relaunch contract negotiations that had stalled in the last week.

Tensions between pilots and the airline have been high since a bankruptcy court judge allowed American Airlines earlier this month to toss out its contract with the pilots.

Over the last two weeks, hundreds of American Airlines flights have been delayed or canceled and the airline has blamed it on pilots who have requested maintenance work shortly before takeoff.

When the airline threatened to file a legal injunction to halt what the airline described as slow-down tactics, the Allied Pilots Assn. canceled further contract talks.

But on Tuesday, after the loose-seat problems made national headlines, the pilots association agreed to resume talks with the airline. 


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