Often plagued by a lack of profitability, airlines are now shifting their planes' maintenance to developing countries. While the cost-saving benefits are significant, most of the mechanics working on the vehicles are not certified, leading to concerns over aviation safety.
Airline mechanics at U.S. airports who perform routine safety checks and maintenance tasks before an airplane takes off report that they are discovering slipshod work done by overseas repair shops. American Airlines mechanics contended in a lawsuit last January that they had been disciplined by management for reporting numerous safety violations they uncovered on airplanes that had recently been serviced in China. Mechanics in Dallas said they had discovered cracked engine pylons, defective doors, and expired oxygen canisters, damage that had simply been painted over, and missing equipment, among other violations. An American spokesperson denied the allegations, contending that the airline’s “maintenance programs, practices, procedures and overall compliance and safety are second to none.” Citing a lack of jurisdiction, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit. The F.A.A., however, is investigating the allegations.
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