For Immediate Release
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Transportation Labor Insists Terrorists Have Plane Access Without Entering Country
WASHINGTON, DC — The following statement was issued today by Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), following the plane terror plot uncovered by British Authorities that threatened the safety of airline passengers and forced increased security measures into place at the nation’s airports:
“Today’s announcement that authorities foiled a plot to blow up jetliners flying from London to the U.S. highlights again our vulnerabilities when it comes to air travel and how little has been done in the five years since September 11, 2001 to ensure that all possible security measures are taken. Terrorists could access planes without even entering the country. There are more than 700 foreign based repair stations that the FAA has direct oversight of and more than 104 of them had never been inspected by the FAA as of a December 2005 DOT/IG report.
“Outsourcing of repairs and maintenance is spreading throughout the airline industry. According to the IG in the past decade carriers have increased outsourced maintenance from 37 percent of their total maintenance expenses to 53 percent. More than 13 percent of the repair stations used are located in foreign countries including Singapore, Hong Kong, El Salvador, China and South Korea.
“Monitoring these foreign repair stations is especially difficult but the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2003 mandated that the TSA and FAA conduct security audits and impose security standards on foreign stations but nothing has been done. Two years later maintenance remains a weak-link in our transportation system and the Administration does not appear interested or willing to close blatant security loop holes.
“We can not give terrorists an easy back door to enter. Securing our aviation industry requires thinking ahead and not waiting for an incident. In light of today’s plot discovery, the Administration should act without haste to issue an emergency order preventing foreign stations from working on U.S. aircrafts until security audits are conducted and rules are instituted that promote enforceable security procedures.”
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), a Washington, D.C.-based labor organization, represents several million transportation workers in the private and public sector. The 31 member unions of TTD work in aviation, bus, mass transit, rail, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. TTD works with Congress and the Executive Branch including the transportation related Federal Agencies to protect good jobs, increase wages, defend workers’ rights, increase transportation safety plus security and ensure adequate funding for our nation’s transportation infrastructure. Under the umbrella of the AFL-CIO, which represents more than 9 million workers in the United States, TTD handles policy and legislative issues related to transportation. Visit www.ttd.org for more information.