Carriers in the US choosing to outsource their maintenance are likely to receive an elevated level of attention in the coming weeks after the International Brotherhood of Teamsters labor union and the Business Travel Coalition detailed plans to partner to convince legislators reform of maintenance oversight is necessary.

Dubbed the Coalition to Legislate Aircraft Maintenance Outsourcing Reform (Clamor), the members in the pairing are attempting to convince legislators in the US Congress of the need for a single level of oversight for carrier in-house maintenance facilities and domestic US and foreign repair stations.

Use of foreign repair stations by US airlines is of particular concern as a result of FAA lacking the necessary resources to properly oversee the work performed at those locations.

Speaking at an outsourcing summit today to unveil the new coalition FAA inspector and VP of the union representing inspectors Linda Goodrich says FAA’s presence is limited overseas, noting one inspector could be responsible for 47 stations.

A March 2007 report by DOT’s inspector general states 103 FAA inspectors are assigned to cover 692 foreign repair stations.

FAA reauthorization legislation passed by the House of Representatives in September 2007 requires FAA to hire additional inspectors and to conduct inspections of part 145 certified foreign repair stations at least twice a year. The Senate has yet to discuss or vote on its version of the bill.

One of the tenets Clamor is pushing in its discussions with legislators is airlines choosing to send maintenance overseas bearing the “fully-burdened costs of FAA inspections and audits.”

Teamsters President James Hoffa had stern words for outsourcing, telling the audience at the summit it is “time for Congress to take decisive action.” Hoffa is calling for a moratorium on outsourcing aircraft maintenance until the close to 700 foreign repair stations currently in operation “meet our standards.”

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news