A US senator has proposed a bill that would require airlines to disclose the countries in which their aircraft are maintained – a move that comes as mechanics' unions fight to keep jobs stateside.
The bill's supporters describe the measure as a means to increase aviation safety and transparency, but others question how such a requirement would have any impact on safety at all.
Introduced to the Senate on 7 June by lawmaker Claire McCaskill, the bill would require airlines to "plainly state on their websites the cities and countries in which their aircraft undergo heavy maintenance," says a release from McCaskill's office.
"That same information also would be provided to consumers as they shop for flights, as well as on ticket confirmation and boarding passes," the release says.
It cites a May report, commissioned by the Transport Workers Union of America, that determined half of US airlines' maintenance work (by dollar amount) is done outside the country.
"Foreign repair stations do not share the same rigorous safety policies," McCaskill's release says.
The Transport Workers Union represents workers at several US carriers and has recently been vocal with concerns related to overseas aircraft maintenance.
The TWU-IAM, which represents mechanics at American Airlines, says McCaskill's bill "will provide the necessary safeguards that will help ensure that all passengers have access to where and when their aircraft was serviced”.
"The TWU-IAM Association believes the offshoring of this maintenance work creates serious security issues and job concerns,” it adds.
But ARSA, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, sees the bill differently, calling it an "obvious attempt to shame the airline for having a dependable international network of maintenance providers".
”Requiring air carriers to inform the public of where maintenance is performed does nothing to further aviation safety," the group says.
Trade group Airlines for America declines to comment about the bill, but says "access to maintenance facilities at all domestic and international destinations we serve is a crucial part of doing business".
"The industry’s safety record is also unprecedented, confirming that high-quality aircraft maintenance is available throughout the world," says Airlines for America.
Source: Cirium Dashboard