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American Flew B757 with Blocked Emergency Exits

On Saturday, an American Airlines crew made a disturbing discovery during a routine maintenance check at Kennedy Airport. The seats on a Boeing 757 had been installed improperly and would have blocked the plane's emergency exits in the event of an evacuation.

According to a New York Post report, the problem traces back to early December when maintenance was performed on the plane's interior by TIMCO Aviation Services Inc. in North Carolina.

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TIMCO, it turns out, is the same company already under investigation for its part in failing to properly secure seats on American B757s in October. That incident led to seats sliding around the cabin and resulted in three emergency landings (although no evacuations) and the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

Between the time the seats were misaligned and the issue was corrected, the plane would have completed hundreds of flights, exposing thousands of passengers to the risk of inoperable emergency hatches.

Such lapses are especially troubling when they concern an airline in bankruptcy, like American, because it raises the specter of a company allowing cost-cutting to trump its focus on safety.

The FAA is investigating.

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.
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