U.S. prosecutors allege safety violations by American Airlines

Thursday, September 8th 2005, 10:52 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ American Airlines put its passengers at risk and violated multiple federal air-safety regulations in 2003 by allowing one of its jets to fly with a leaky fuel tank, according to a civil complaint filed by the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn.

The complaint, which was made public on Thursday, seeks more than $1 million in penalties against the airline.

Tim Wagner, a spokesman for American's parent company AMR Corp., declined to discuss the complaint, saying lawyers for the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline had not had a chance to review it.

The complaint alleges that on Nov. 17, 2003, a Federal Aviation Administration inspector was a passenger on an American flight from Orlando, Fla., to New York's La Guardia Airport when he saw fuel leaking from a wing of the McDonnell Douglas MD-82.

The inspector warned the flight crew about the leak and demanded it be recorded in the aircraft's maintenance log. However, ``no such entry was made by the pilot or maintenance personnel,'' the complaint said.

American allowed the ``unsafe and un-airworthy'' jet to take 53 commercial flights over two weeks before it was repaired during a regularly scheduled maintenance check, the complaint said.

During that period, the ``aircraft was operated in a careless and reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another,'' the complaint said.