FAA Orders Airlines to Recheck Bags

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St. Louis, MO Jan 10, 2001 (AP by Jim Suhr)--For the second time in a week, government officials have found problems with the way American Airlines inspects checked baggage at Lambert Airport.

Federal Aviation Administration inspectors on Wednesday found that some security requirements were not being followed by American agents and asked the airline to remedy the problem.

The company then briefly grounded at least 33 of its planes, said Elizabeth Cory with the FAA in Chicago. It was not immediately known how many travelers were affected.

Without specifying American's alleged shortcomings, Cory said the issues were the same as those on Jan. 3, when nearly 60 American Airlines flights in and out of Lambert were delayed after the FAA questioned the airline's inspections of some checked baggage.

Spokespeople for American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, did not immediately return telephone messages late Wednesday and early Thursday seeking comment.

After the Jan. 3 delays, American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Rader said the airline was in full compliance with all FAA orders concerning safety and security of passengers and baggage. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport recently became a major hub for American flights after the company's buyout of TWA.

``It's just part of getting into gear here,'' she said then. ``I know we're going to comply with the FAA, and this is just part of a learning curve to enhance safety and security.''

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press