American inspects 757s after loose seats found

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American Airlines is inspecting eight Boeing 757-200s, after a row of seats became loose in-flight on two recent flights.

The Fort Worth-based carrier says that it is investigating why the seats came loose and is in contact with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the incident.

A row of seats came loose on a 757-200 operating flight 685 from Boston to Miami, which diverted safely to at New York's John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport, on 29 September and on a second 757 operating flight 443 from JFK to Miami on 1 October, according to the FAA.

"Preliminary information indicates that both aircraft had recently undergone maintenance during which the seats had been removed and re-installed," says the FAA. "Including these two airplanes, the airline has taken eight aircraft with similar seat assemblies out of service until they can be inspected."

"An initial internal investigation into why a row of seats became loose on two American Airlines Boeing 757s has indicated that there could be a possible issue with a certain model of seats and how they fit into the tracking used to secure the seats," says the airline.

"The seats were installed by American maintenance and contract maintenance. The issue does not seem to be tied to any one maintenance facility or one workgroup."

American says that it flew engineers, tech crew chiefs and inspectors to New York from its Tulsa maintenance base to evaluate the aircraft and determine what to do next.

The Transport Workers Union says that the majority of the seat installation was conducted by the maintenance contractor TIMCO, in a statement. It denies any connection to the on-going labour dispute between American and its pilots.

"Problems related to seats are less likely a labour problem, but rather a management issue related to outsourcing work to third-party facilities," says the union.

American has 104 757-200s in service, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database.