Negligence claim against United Airlines over 11 September crash is dismissed

Thursday 22 November 2012 12.15
Court ruled United Airlines bears no responsibility for security lapses
Court ruled United Airlines bears no responsibility for security lapses

A judge in the US has dismissed a negligence claim brought against United Airlines over security lapses that allowed hijackers to crash a plane into one of the World Trade Centre towers.

US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said United Airlines bears no responsibility for suspected security lapses at a Maine airport that allowed the hijackers onto the American Airlines plane.

The plane crashed into one of the World Trade Centre towers on 11 September 2001.

Judge Hellerstein granted a request by United, and its parent United Continental Holdings Inc, to dismiss negligence claims brought by Larry Silverstein, the leaseholder of the World Trade Centre property.

The decision concerned the destruction of 7 World Trade Centre, which collapsed hours after being pierced by debris stemming from the crash of AMR Corp's American Airlines Flight 11 into 1 World Trade Centre.

Two of the hijackers on Flight 11, Mohammed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari, had begun their trip to New York at the Portland International Jetport.

There, they boarded a flight by US Airways carrier Colgan Air to Boston's Logan Airport, from where they connected onto the American plane.

Mr Silverstein argued that because United was among the carriers that operated Portland's only security checkpoint, it was legally responsible for the screening of all passengers, and had missed a "clear chance" to prevent the hijacking.

The judge, however, found that Chicago-based United owed no duty of care to Silverstein's 7 World Trade Co LP, which had leased Tower 7.