US Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) today introduced the Safe Aviation Facilities Ensure Aircraft Integrity and Reliability Act of 2008 calling for more strict oversight of foreign repair stations. The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), AFL-CIO, the union that represents more than 11,000 FAA employees, including aviation safety inspectors, are commending the action. PASS National President Tom Brantley released the following statement regarding the bill:
“In light of recent failures of FAA management in addressing inspector’s repeated safety concerns in this country, it is clear that the FAA must be more vigilant in how it oversees the industry. The McCaskill-Specter SAFE AIR Act takes aggressive action by ensuring that all major air carrier maintenance work only be performed by certificated repair stations, that foreign certificated repair stations are inspected at least twice a year by an FAA inspector, and that all workers working on US aircraft at foreign repair facilities be drug and alcohol tested. If a foreign repair facility wants to work on US-registered aircraft or any aircraft that operates in this country, meeting the same safety standards as domestic repair stations should be non-negotiable.
“US air carriers are increasingly relying upon overseas repair facilities to perform critical maintenance work on its aircraft, and yet, many of these facilities are not subject to the same level of oversight, scrutiny and inspections as domestic repair stations. With airlines taking tremendous cost-cutting steps to reduce overhead and operating expenses, now is the time for the FAA to increase its oversight of airline maintenance, especially oversees.
“We commend Senators McCaskill and Specter for their efforts to raise attention on this very important matter. This bill is critical to the safety of the flying public, and we are hopeful that it will be enacted so that we can continue to defend this country’s reputation as having the safest aviation system in the world.”
PASS represents more than 11,000 employees of the US Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense who install, maintain, support and certify air traffic control and national defense equipment, inspect and oversee the commercial and general aviation industries, develop flight procedures and perform quality analyses of the aviation systems.