Just Plane Dangerous?

In a rare public fight, an air carrier sues its repair shop, alleging sloppy work. Does the industry have a bigger problem?

In his office a mile from a runway at London's Heathrow Airport, Philip Bowles grips an official-looking piece of paper. A pilot since he was 18 and now CEO of Airfreight Express (AFX), he is holding a copy of the most important document in aviation safety: a work card. These government-approved forms are used to document repair or maintenance of all aircraft. "Trust still exists in the aviation industry," explains Bowles, "because when these forms are completed, an airline can be 100% certain that the aircraft is airworthy."

Or can it? Bowles is charging in a lawsuit filed last Thursday that...

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