Police seize parts of Airbus jets at Rome airport

Sunday, January 27, 2002

ROME -- Police seized parts cannibalized from six Airbus A300 jets in a warehouse at Rome's main airport Saturday as investigators probed an international market in used airline parts suspected of being falsely certified as new or as properly inspected.

Milan daily Corriere della Sera said FBI agents were studying Italian investigators' work in the case for ties to the crash in November of an American Airlines A300 in New York City which killed 265 people.

More than 70 U.S. pilots have signed a statement saying Airbus A300 jets should be grounded until the cause of the crash is know. The pilots claim there is no way to adequately inspect the Airbus tails, which are made of a nonmetallic composite material. There are no procedures for using ultrasound or another method to look inside the composite.

Maj. Anselmi Mocci, of Italy's paramilitary fiscal police conducting the spare parts probe, told Italian state TV that many of the parts that were seized were manipulated or handled by unqualified people.

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