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Swissair files complaint against entertainment system suppliers

(AP) -- Swissair said Thursday it has filed a `precautionary' complaint against the suppliers of an in-flight entertainment system that was installed on the MD-11 jet which crashed last year off the coast of Canada.

This content was published on September 9, 1999 - 16:55

(AP) -- Swissair said Thursday it has filed a `precautionary' complaint against the suppliers of an in-flight entertainment system that was installed on the MD-11 jet which crashed last year off the coast of Canada.

Complaints against the supplier, Interactive Flight Technologies Inc., the company which installed the system, Hollingsead International and the company which certified it, Santa Barbara Aerospace, were filed by Swissair and other companies of its SAirGroup parent before a judge in Kloten, near Zurich, Swissair said in a statement.

"The complaints are a precautionary measure taken to ensure that the plaintiffs retain a right of recourse," it said. "This right would otherwise have lapsed one year after the accident."

Swissair Flight 111, bound from New York to Geneva, plunged into the Atlantic off Nova Scotia on September 2, 1998.

The pilots mentioned a strange smell and then complained of dense smoke shortly before the jet crashed.

Though the cause of Flight 111's fire remains unknown, investigators have learned enough to prompt several safety measures.

U.S. officials recommended all MD-11s be inspected for wiring problems, and they recently ordered airlines to replace Mylar insulation in nearly 700 airplanes, including MD-11s, over the next four years because it failed a new anti-flame test.

Last October, Swissair disconnected the high-tech in-flight entertainment system from its planes after questions arose about its possible role in the doomed jet's electrical problems.

The airline said the video-on-demand system for first and business class was being disconnected from a power supply network routed through the cockpit because it was nonessential and because that is the area where the investigation was concentrated.

Swissair is the only customer for the system, manufactured by Phoenix-based Interactive Flight Technologies Inc. Canadian investigators haven't linked it to any damage.

"There are no new findings to date on the cause of the SR111 accident," the airline said Thursday.

Investigators have said they expect it to take another year before they have finished determining the cause of the accident.

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