An aircraft maintenance officer at a Miami airport who was allegedly tampering with a critical piece of hardware on a passenger plane in July to receive overtime work against a controversial union contract, according to court documents.
An American Airlines 150-person aircraft never departed for a scheduled flight from Miami to Nassau in the Bahamas on July 17, after a flight crew noticed an error related to the "Air Data Module" and canceled it, the documents say.
Maruf Abdul-Majd Ahmed Alani, who worked for aircraft maintenance at the hangar at American Airlines International Airport in Miami, was charged with intentionally damaging, destroying, disabling or destroying an aircraft and attempting to do so, according to court documents.
Alani was interviewed by law enforcement on Thursday and said he never intended to cause damage to the aircraft or passengers, but financially harmed by a stagnant contract dispute between the union and the airline,
has used super glue to attach a piece of foam to the inlet of the air data module, which records information such as speed, foot height and other data, according to the document.
Alani "claims to have tampered with the purpose's planes to cause delays or cancel flights in anticipation of overtime," the statement said.
American Airlines stated that Flight 2834 returned to the Maintenance Gate and all passengers were placed on another aircraft bound for Nassau.
"An American immediately notified federal law enforcement agencies that had initiated the investigation with our full cooperation," the airline said in a statement.
It was not clear from online court records Thursday night that Alani had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf. A phone number for everyone associated with Alani could not be found immediately.
After the aircraft was taken down for maintenance, workers discovered that the air data module "appeared to be intentionally clogged with what appeared to be dark Styrofoam material.
Investigators use video surveillance and interviews with other workers to identify Alani, one named based on his "unique walk", according to the affidavit.
The footage alleged to be Alani entering the plane was forwarded to the electronics and equipment department and spent about seven minutes there in the morning of the incident.
The Miami Herald reports that the labor dispute involves 1