BOSTON (AP/CBS) – An American Airlines official tells CBS News that loose seats have been found on at least six aircraft. The official says that 37 Boeing 757s have been inspected so far, and there are 11 more to go.
The six aircraft were found to have one row of seats not properly installed. This includes two flights that had to be diverted in recent days.
Workers were seen removing multiple items from two jets at Logan Tuesday afternoon, including several rows of three seats.
However, American spokesman Matt Miller told WBZ-TV those planes are not being inspected as part of the 757 seats issue.
“They are getting their Main Cabin Extra refurbishment,” Miller said in an email.
The latest inspections come after American said seats came loose on a flight last week between Vail, Colo., and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
The same thing happened on a flight Saturday from Boston to Miami and another on Monday on a flight from New York to Miami. Those flights were both diverted to JFK in New York.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had some reassuring words during a visit to Boston. “It’s something that the FAA is on,” he says. “They’re on it. They’re doing an investigation and they’re trying to figure out, with American, what the problem is and fix it.”
American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said the loose seats were not the result of sabotage by workers.
American’s union employees are unhappy about pending layoffs and cuts in pay and benefits that American has imposed since filing for bankruptcy protection in November.
The Transport Workers Union of America, which represents aircraft mechanics and maintenance workers at American, said Tuesday that it has also launched an investigation into the seat problems.
“Much of the work related to seat installation on American Airlines’ aircraft has been done by an outside firm, TIMCO, rather than by maintenance personnel employed by the airline,” Robert Gless, deputy director of the union’s Air Transport Division, said in a statement.
“Statements by some in the media and by self-appointed ‘experts’ linking the seat problem to labor issues are without any basis in fact. The facts are TWU has ratified agreements with the airline in recent weeks for all its members. Problems related to seats are less likely a labor problem, but rather a management issue related to outsourcing work to third-party facilities.”
WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager contributed to this report.