Questions About Eastern

Employees charge that the airline is careless with maintenance

Ever since the airlines were deregulated nine years ago and fierce fare wars erupted, some passengers have been concerned that cost-conscious carriers might feel compelled to cut corners on the maintenance of their aircraft. Such fears have reached a new peak amid the recent burst of publicity about airline problems, including numerous unscheduled landings caused by mechanical failures. The Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines firmly deny that safety standards have generally deteriorated under deregulation. But an unflattering spotlight is now being focused on the maintenance practices of one major carrier: Eastern Air Lines. Eastern's mechanics say they are under enormous...