A mechanic who worked for American Airlines has been charged with sabotaging a July flight with 150 people on board amid a labor dispute with the airline back in July, a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami said.
Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, of Miami, was arrested on Thursday after he was accused of disabling the flight's navigation system, the Miami Herald reported, citing the criminal complaint.
Alani was charged with "willfully damaging, destroying, disabling, or wrecking an aircraft" after a July 17 flight from Miami International to Nassau in the Bahamas aborted takeoff when pilots got an error message because of Alani's alleged tampering.
Surveillance footage reportedly showed Alani at the gate before the flight and the complaint says the mechanic he deliberately obstructed the ADM (air data module) system using a dark, Styrofoam-like material. Alani told law enforcement that he'd become "upset at the stalled contract dispute between the union workers and American Airlines, and that this dispute had affected him financially."
Alani tampered with the ADM in order to delay the plane, or cancellation with the hopes of earning overtime, the complaint said.
A spokesman with American Airlines said they were taking "this matter very seriously" in a statement released Thursday evening.
"On July 17, flight 2834 from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, returned to the gate due to a maintenance issue," said Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the airline. "Passengers boarded a new aircraft which then re-departed for Nassau. At American we have an unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our customers and team members and we are taking this matter very seriously. At the time of the incident, the aircraft was taken out of service, maintenance was performed and after an inspection to ensure it was safe the aircraft was returned to service. American immediately notified federal law enforcement who took over the investigation with our full cooperation."