A US FEDERAL Aviation Administration inspection team is to visit Israel Aircraft Industries' (IAI) Bedek overhaul division later this month, following concerns over the company's Boeing 747 maintenance work.

Bedek, one of the world's primary 747 over-hauls, has meanwhile consented, to stepped-up FAA surveillance of its work on the type. Work on other models is unaffected.

The FAA's move comes after a B-check on a 747, which had been bought from IAI by UK lessor Electra and placed into the USA, revealed possible faulty workmanship in the pre-sale C-check performed in Israel.

In another incident, an aircraft leased by Tower Air from Virgin Atlantic, which had also undergone a Bedek C-check, was found to have an area of undetected corrosion.

A senior Bedek source says that the first incident is under investigation, but the group rejects all accusations over the Virgin aircraft. It says that the check was carried out to Virgin's specifications - which called for a visual inspection of the affected area - and the corrosion was discovered only when the section was disassembled, as Tower later required.

IAI is stressing that it is co-operating completely with the FAA and points out that, when it had itself discovered a similar problem two years earlier, it fired five employees, including a senior manager.

FAA associate administrator for regulation and certification, Tony Broderick, describes IAI as "very apologetic", saying: "We are working together on this to resolve the issue."

Source: Flight International