Industry is sending 1 out of every 5 planes overseas.
FAA requires overhaul of planes every two years. Until just a few years ago, unionized American employees of each airline did the work.
Since 2002 airlines have been doing anything to cut costs. Maintenance has been one of the biggest areas.
Using a non-union shop in American, they cut their costs in half, and using another shop outside of America, it can be as little as 1/3 the original cost.
All of the shops have to be approved by the FAA. The last time a plane crashed because of maintenance error was in 2003 - and that was serviced in the US.
But, the inspector general of the Department of Transportation says that FAA and industry inspectors are not monitoring work the way they should.
The FAA does not require airlines to report where their air crafts are being serviced, so they don't even know where to check.
I'll admit that I am totally and completely biased on the issue of outsourcing air craft maintenance, but it seems like a risky thing to be doing.
When you hire well paid unionized employees, they are more likely to care about there jobs, and therefore do the best they can at making sure the air crafts are properly maintained.
Also, it used to be easy to find the root of the problem. US Airways air craft was obviously serviced by US Airways employees. Now it could be serviced anywhere in the world, by anyone.
If airlines kept employees in the U.S. it would provide many well paying jobs to Americans, and that would help stimulate a hurting economy. People would be able to afford to travel more. Outsourcing is a short term solutions to a bigger problem.
In the airline industry, maintenance seems like the last place you would want to be cutting costs. Especially with people already more nervous about air travel after 9/11.