Group Says Cutting Costs in Aircraft Maintenance Has "Serious
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers (IAM) General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr., testified
Wednesday before the United States Senate Commerce, Science and
Transportation Committee Subcommittee on Aviation Operations,
Safety and Security regarding the Federal Aviation Administration's
oversight of overseas aircraft repair stations.
"Airlines are utilizing these facilities to take advantage of
low wages and lax regulations while there are many US repair
facilities available, including the state-of-the-art Indianapolis
facility abandoned by United Airlines," said Roach.
"Cutting back on food, pillows and other in-flight
amenities is a business decision that only inconveniences
passengers, but cutting costs in aircraft maintenance has serious
safety implications," he said.
The IAM's testimony focused on the lack of FAA oversight of
independent repair stations, the shortage of FAA inspectors and the
disparity in regulations for workers in domestic and foreign
aircraft repair stations, the union said.
"Our members have seen aircraft return from independent repair
facilities with the flaps rigged improperly, engine fan blades
installed backwards, improperly connected ducting that resulted in
pressurization problems, airspeed indicator lines disconnected,
inoperable thrust reversers and over- wing exit emergency slides
deactivated," said Roach. "These aircraft had all been deemed
airworthy by the repair stations."
"There should be one standard for safety, security and FAA
oversight at all aircraft repair facilities that perform work on
U.S. aircraft, regardless of where those facilities are located,"
said Roach. "This must include equivalent standards for criminal
background checks, drug and alcohol testing and security at repair
The Machinists Union was the only airline employee union
testifying at today's hearing, the union said.
The IAM represents workers in almost every classification,
including Mechanic & Related, Flight Attendant, Fleet Service,
Customer Service and Reservation Agent.