Another in a long list of efforts to stop Aircraft Maintenance Outsourcing
Prior Efforts have not shown that independent MROs are unsafe
When and what would a Passenger do with an Outsourcing Notice
The legislation would require carriers to disclose more information about their maintenance activities to the public.
U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-California), a senior member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, plans to re-introduce legislation this summer that would require carriers to disclose more information about their maintenance activities to the public.
“As a person who spends at least 5,000 miles a week on an airplane, I want to know that airplane is well maintained, and I want to know where its maintenance was done, so I can hold that airline accountable,” Garamendi said at the Aircraft Maintenance Outsourcing Summit in Washington, DC on June 4.
The bill would require carriers to display notices providing the public with the location at which aircraft most recently underwent heavy maintenance, as well as the dates of such maintenance. That information would have to be “prominently displayed” on carriers’ websites and boarding documents, and airline workers at the ticket counter would be required to communicate it clearly to passengers.
The Representative has been a Member of the Transportation & Infrastructure for a decade and must have been aware of previous efforts to block the airlines from using “outsourced maintenance.” Legislative impediments to these highly regulated facilities included studies, audits, drug testing and other legislative constructs. The battle over Repair Stations started in the early ‘80s and none of these efforts proved that the Part 145 certificate holders were safety risks.
Now this Senior Democrat proposes (the Airline Passenger Safety Bill of Rights does not appear in any of the search machines) to require airlines to
display notices providing the public
with the location at which aircraft most recently underwent heavy maintenance,
as well as the dates of such maintenance.
“prominently displayed” on carriers’ websites
airline workers at the ticket counter would be required to communicate it clearly to passengers.
Here is a hypothetical computer reservation display of the Garamendi warning.
While the theory is that consumers, armed with the dates and places of heavy maintenance, will opt out to fly on our hypothetical XY airline flight.
MEDIUM : the Representative that his warning be presented at the CRS, on the ticket wallet and during the airport check-in process. Assuming arguendo that the warning can provide any information meaningful to the average traveler,
the CRS will not be able to identify whether the flight will be flown by an aircraft maintained by XY or a contractor;
the Ticket Wallets are printed in massive lots months before the flights and again would, at best, repeat the general notice;
Imagine a passenger service agent telling the passenger at check-in that his/her plane had outsourced MX. If the passenger refuses to board, must the airline rebook the passenger? At whose cost?
MESSAGE: Should the actual company which did the MX be named? Or is it adequate to identify the state (there are more than a few in California) or country.
An airworthiness expert, if tasked with auditing all Part 145 facilities, would find variation among the quality of the universe of the MX organizations as to procedures, processes, staffing, training, QC/QA and the like. However, that same professional review would find few, more likely none, falling below the FAA minimum standards.
Query: how might the average passenger make an intelligent, informed decision based on the Garamendi warning.
These highly regulated facilities (almost all hold licenses from multiple authorities that inspect the sites frequently and cumulatively almost constantly)) are not the last step. The Congressman has expressed a higher level of confidence in an airline’s own MX personnel. Every heavy maintenance aircraft upon return is subject to a thorough review by our XY’s staff.
Query: could the average passenger make a better judgment than these professionals based on the Garamendi warning.
The Congressman seems to attribute some significance to the location of these MX facilities, perhaps as a surrogate to the long held belief that Foreign Repair Stations are inferior. Oddly enough this view has been stirred by the International Association of Machinists (note: the IAM represents workers around the globe).
A simple exposition to try to evaporate this myth. Lufthansa has a world class reputation of MX. The reputation of the German craftsmen is legendary. EASA/EU prefer keeping jobs on the Continent as well exact a very high level of safety with a more than ample staff.
Here is a map of the LH global MX array:
With some 35 subsidiaries and affiliates, the Lufthansa Technik Group is one of the leading providers of technical aircraft services in the world. Certified internationally as maintenance, production and design organization, the company has a workforce of more than 25,000 employees. Lufthansa Technik’s portfolio covers the entire range of services for commercial and VIP/special mission aircraft, engines, components and landing gear in the areas of digital fleet support, maintenance, repair, overhaul, modification, completion and conversion as well as the manufacture of innovative cabin products.
Lufthansa Technik Sofia Ltd. in Bulgaria
Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico
Lufthansa Technik Maintenance International (LTMI)
Lufthansa Technik Vostok Services Moscow, Russian Federation
If Representative Garamendi wants to have greater confidence that the airplane flying him home is “safe”, he might consider legislating more powers and more inspectors for the FAA. His warnings will not enhance aviation safety one iota.
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