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U.S. airlines imperil passengers by conducting repairs overseas, union says

May 20, 2018 | 7:16 PM
U.S. airlines imperil passengers by conducting repairs overseas, union says
John Samuelsen (c.), International President of the TWU, which will release a report detailing the dangers of conducting airplane repairs in foreign countries. (Kevin C. Downs/for New York Daily News)

U.S. airlines endanger passengers by sending planes overseas for repairs and maintenance, says a union representing aircraft mechanics in New York.

Foreign aircraft maintenance companies' employee background checks aren't as thorough as those conducted by U.S. firms, says a report commissioned by the Transport Workers Union.

And foreign mechanics don't always meet U.S. qualifications, says the report the TWU plans to release Monday.

"Neither the Federal Aviation Administration nor any other U.S. government body like the FBI or Homeland Security are able to deliver the same level of intense scrutiny overseas that they do on U.S. soil," said John Samuelsen, International President of the TWU.

The FAA has to give one week's notice to inspect many maintenance facilities overseas, Samuelsen said. But if the FAA wants to check a maintenance facility in the U.S., "they just show up," he said.


The TWU's report was written by former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's consulting firm.

Roughly half of U.S. airlines' aircraft maintenance work is performed in other countries, the TWU says.

About 600 TWU members hold airline mechanic jobs at American Airlines hangars at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. The TWU is in drawn-out contract talks with the airline.

Airlines for America, an industry group, says U.S. carriers' safety record shows overseas maintenance shops do good work. "High-quality aircraft maintenance is available throughout the world," the organization said.


The FAA said it "requires the same strong and rigorous safety standards wherever a U.S. airliner is inspected or maintained."

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