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FAA recommends seat inspections on some airlines

By Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times –

The Federal Aviation Administration has recommended inspections for the airlines that use seats made by the same Texas manufacturer of seats that came loose last month from several American Airline planes.

Reports of loose seats on about half a dozen American Airlines flights forced the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier last month to temporarily ground almost 50 Boeing 757 planes to ensure the seats were securely fastened to the cabin floor.

After initially blaming the problem on a faulty seat clamp, the airline later said that the buildup of spilled soft drinks, coffee and juice kept locking pins from staying in place and securing the seats.

Weber Aircraft, the Gainesville, Texas, company that manufactured the seats for American’s 757 planes, also made seats for 25 other airlines, including Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Air Canada and Korean Air Lines. Weber is a subsidiary of Zodiac Aerospace of France.

A spokesperson for Weber could not be reached for comment.

The FAA recommended Friday that airlines using 11 Weber seat models inspect them “for loose seats and incorrectly installed fittings.”

The FAA stopped short of calling for a mandatory inspection, saying that the problem “has not been determined to be an unsafe condition that would warrant airworthiness directive action,” a more serious inspection requirement.

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