Praise Legislation to Tighten Security at Foreign Aircraft
Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal
Association (AMFA) Local 33, serving Northwest and Mesaba Airlines,
publicly applauded pending Congressional legislation that would
make security at foreign aircraft repair stations as stringent as
in the U.S.
The legislation, recently passed by the Senate and now before
the House (H.R. 2144), would require employees of foreign repair
stations who work on U.S. aircraft to undergo drug and alcohol
testing at the same level as domestic airline maintenance workers.
Foreign repair stations would be subject to inspections
without notice and security audits, just as domestic maintenance
facilities are today. The security audits would be carried out
within one year after passage of the legislation. If a foreign
repair station failed to correct security issues within 90 days of
notification, its certificate to repair U.S. aircraft would be
Additional bureaucratic hassles will also narrow "cost gap"
between US, foreign shops.
"We have been pursuing
this issue hard since September 2001, in Washington and in the
press. It's gratifying to see this progress happening," said AMFA
Local 33 President Jim Atkinson. "We're also glad that, in a
non-partisan spirit, the AFL-CIO is now also supporting this
In presenting an amendment to the Senate bill on behalf of
himself and others, including Minnesota's Mark Dayton, Sen. Arlen
Specter (R-PA) said, "What we have at the present time is a very
different set of standards for foreign repair stations than are in
effect for domestic stations. In foreign stations, for example,
there need not be drug and alcohol testing. In foreign stations,
there are not the kinds of requirements and regulations as to the
maintenance of safety, and there are no requirements as to
Overseas authority for FAA:
Enforcement of the new regulations would be handled by the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), under its existing authority
for U.S. aircraft overseas. "With appropriate funding, we believe
the FAA will do a good job enforcing these important new security
regulations," Atkinson said.
outsources a portion of its aircraft maintenance work to foreign
repair stations in Singapore, mainland China and elsewhere. A
report from Philippine intelligence concluded that Singapore
remains "a perfect target" for terrorist attacks against American
businesses, despite the foiling of Al Qaida-related plots that
included a planned attack on the international airport, and spying
by a senior aircraft mechanic.
When "security" -- job and safety -- comes together:
"Naturally, we are concerned about job security for our members.
Any airline receiving multiple rounds of federal aid since 9-11
should feel morally obligated to keep jobs here at home, rather
than sending this work to foreign repair stations," Atkinson said.
"But beyond that, we are very concerned about security at foreign
aircraft repair stations, especially in Singapore and China.
Without the regulations outlined in the pending legislation, the
security risks are inherently greater when work is performed in
these locations on aircraft that are used to fly Americans and
others in the U.S. and around the world."