September 26, 2022
Support the Bipartisan Global Aircraft Maintenance Safety Improvement Act (H.R. 7321)
On behalf of workers across the airline industry, we are writing to encourage you to support the bipartisan Global Aircraft Maintenance Safety Improvement Act (H.R. 7321) when it comes up for a vote on the House floor. This legislation removes incentives for airlines to offshore maintenance jobs by closing safety loopholes which allow US-aircraft to be repaired on lower safety standards at FAA-certified facilities abroad.
Over the objections of Congress, as well as safety and consumer groups, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created regulatory gaps in five areas, defining different standards for maintenance performed abroad versus maintenance performed in the U.S. Unlike domestic facilities, FAA-certified repair facilities abroad are not required to:
• Conduct drug and alcohol testing on safety-sensitive personnel;
• Perform background checks on workers;
• Assess security threats for facilities;
• Allow unannounced FAA inspections of maintenance operations; and,
• Meet minimum qualifications for aircraft mechanics.
Collectively, these regulatory gaps create significant and ongoing safety concerns. Heavy maintenance checks can include disassembling engines and removing wings from an airframe. Repair work performed in these areas, deep inside of the aircraft, is often hidden from visual inspection and can go unobserved for long periods of time. Our safety system relies on qualified, trusted professionals to perform this work and conduct quality control to ensure standards are being met. Work performed on lower safety standards lacks these essential components.
Additionally, these loopholes are incentivizing the offshoring of good jobs in the airline industry. Mechanics can be hired immediately in Mexico while those in the US must wait weeks for a background check. Facilities that never face unannounced inspections do not face the same compliance costs as those that do. The weight of these regulatory gaps is undermining both safety and US jobs.
H.R. 7321 would establish one uniform level of safety for aircraft repair, maintenance, and overhaul regardless of where the service is performed. This would bring our regulations back in line with Congressional intent going back decades to ensure that aircraft maintenance is always held to the highest level of scrutiny. We strongly support this bill and hope you will vote “yes” when HR 7321 comes before the House.
Air Line Pilots Association
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Transport Workers Union of America