Friday, January 23, 2015

Mechanics Union Sues American Airlines • Suit Alleges Managers Breached Federal Aviation Administration Rules; FAA Investigates

A major mechanics union at American Airlines Group Inc. has filed a lawsuit alleging that managers pressured members to breach federal rules on aircraft maintenance, including for wing cracks and inspections for suspected lightning strikes—claims that could complicate a crucial year for the world’s largest carrier in its merger integration.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the allegations, according to people familiar with the details. The allegations that prompted the investigation were originally detailed in two federal whistleblower complaints filed in recent months by six American mechanics in Chicago and one in Dallas. Leaders of the Transport Workers Union Local 591 sued American in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Thursday, claiming the company intimidated union representatives from aiding the FAA’s investigation.

American said it continually works with FAA regulators to ensure its aircraft maintenance, safety and regulatory compliance “are second to none.” The carrier said it is in frequent contact with the FAA “and their oversight team has not alerted us to any current critical issues or concerns.” American didn’t immediately respond on Friday to a request for comment regarding the claims of intimidation.