The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO and its member unions have for many years advocated for policy reforms that ensure the outsourcing of aircraft maintenance, now reaching epidemic proportions, does not jeopardize aviation safety and security. The need for legislative action is underscored by the attached USA Today article, which highlights the findings of a six month investigation that unearthed the severe problems inherent in aircraft maintenance outsourcing. Specifically, the article cites systemic failures in oversight and the fact that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified contract repair facilities and workforces based overseas do not face the same level of government surveillance as those based in this country.
U.S. air carriers currently outsource 70 percent of their maintenance work to contract repair stations with much of that work going overseas to stations that do not necessarily meet the safety and security rules in place at U.S. facilities. For example, the almost 800 foreign stations certified by the FAA to work on U.S. aircraft are not required to institute a drug and alcohol testing program that U.S. facilities and their workers must follow. Furthermore, as correctly reported by USA Today, contract repair work is being farmed out to facilities that are not even certified by the FAA making oversight and quality control virtually impossible.
For these reasons, we have been advocating aggressively for legislative reforms. The House-passed FAA Reauthorization bill (H.R. 915) includes provisions that will bring an end to non-certified stations performing critical maintenance work on aircraft, mandate that foreign repair stations be inspected at least twice a year by FAA inspectors and require workers at these facilities to be held to the same drug and alcohol testing standards as workers at U.S. repair facilities. We urge you to work in favor of this provision before the House and Senate send a final FAA bill to the President’s Desk.
Long overdue legislation is needed to close the serious safety loophole that has created a double standard in how our government regulates outsourced maintenance. The repair station provisions in H.R. 915 will go a long way to strengthen the oversight and regulation of these facilities and their employees. If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact me or Mia Clarkson at 202/628-9262.