Let me be clear, my story has spawned a new investigative direction in dire need of close scrutiny...My internal stats are showing that top brass from Air Canada and Aveos are very concerned where this story is leading...
First off, there are two threads winding on this spool, Air Canada and Aveos have colluded to burn union employees and pension liabilities for cheap possibly dangerous outsourcing that one day might be front page news around the world when jets start falling from the skies...When that happens the lawsuits will cost both Air Canada and other carriers more money than wages, it will be the end of Air Canada....
More shocking news...There are other concerned people that have reported on the pending and real already happened disasters....This story is leading back to what Alaska Air did decades ago...Cut corners, rushed maintenance, forged maintenance reports, sub standard parts, those practices led to hundreds of people dying when a jet crashed and burned, and yes indeed, that led to the demise of Alsaka Air...
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The work is done by Aeroman, the maintenance subsidiary of TACA, and is a source of hundreds of good-paying jobs for the mechanics. I wrote about
Frontier Airlines, Jet Blue and America West sending their planes south.
When Southwest Airlines announced that it too might move maintenance work to El Salvador, my post produced a spirited debate about the possibility that safety might be compromised by using the less-expensive Salvadoran mechanics. There was no proof, and it might have just been put down to the pain of unionized American workers losing their jobs to foreign outsourcing.
But now National Public Radio in the US has run an investigative report including interviews with Aeroman mechanics and instances of faulty work creating unsafe conditions on US Airways passenger jets. From the report:
[T]he mechanics say managers keep pressuring them to fix the planes faster. For instance, if there's rust on a metal beam, but it's just a little over tolerance, "the supervisor says, 'Oh, just leave it like that,' " the mechanic says, through an interpreter. " 'There's no need to repair it.' "
The FAA requires that mechanics fix the planes according to the airline manuals — whether they're in the U.S. or overseas. But the mechanics at Aeroman say their supervisors often say that takes too much time.
Although the FAA periodically inspects at the Aeroman facility, the inspections are always pre-announced, with plenty of time to present a quality appearance, according to the report.
It's a troubling story, if airline passengers are being put at risk. Yet, as the story notes, it has been several years since there was an aircraft crash due to poor maintenance (and it was not Aeroman maintenance). You need to be careful extrapolating from a handful of anecdotes. Perhaps the story's most important lesson is that airlines and the FAA need to step up their level of scrutiny of Aeroman and similar shops.
But after reading this story it spawned further checking and the more I read the more it seems that Aeroman is following the lead of the murderous company Alaska Airlines, flight 261 crashed and burned, all caused by mechanical short cuts and company scrimping, the lawsuits filed nearly caused the carrier complete bankruptcy, those lost lives can`t be returned...We don`t need to see a repeat....
Shortly before sunrise on Jan. 23, 2009, passengers on US Airways Flight 518, who were flying from Omaha to Phoenix, were startled by a terrifying shriek.
The pressure seal around the main cabin door was failing, and that shriek was the sound of air leaking through. The plane diverted to Denver. Everybody was safe.
But that and other recent malfunctions affecting US Airways planes, which NPR is reporting for the first time, raise questions about a controversial and growing practice at most U.S. airlines: The industry is sending 1 of every 5 planes to developing countries, from Central America to Asia, when the planes need to be overhauled and repaired.
In the weeks before the door seal started to fail, US Airways had sent that Boeing 737 to be overhauled at Aeroman, a repair company in El Salvador. And mechanics installed a key part on the door — a "snubber" — backward.
Mechanics at Aeroman first told NPR about the incident. David Seymour, a senior vice president at US Airways, later confirmed the details. He says the plane made the unscheduled landing merely as "a precautionary" measure — but he acknowledges that the Federal Aviation Administration issued violations against both Aeroman and US Airways for lapses in maintenance and oversight.
One of the biggest areas airlines can cut costs is maintenance. Consider this: If an airline fixes its own planes in the U.S., it spends up to $100 per hour for every union mechanic, including overhead and other expenses, according to industry analysts. The airline spends roughly half as much at an independent, nonunion shop in America. And it spends only a third as much in a developing country, such as El Salvador.
Peggy Gilligan, the FAA's associate administrator for aviation safety, says one reason there hasn't been a crash since then is "that there are lots of eyes looking at work that's done on aircraft, and lots of checks and balances to see that the work is being completed properly." When a U.S. airline sends planes to a repair shop, whether in the U.S. or another country, the work is supposed to be supervised by FAA-certified mechanics, and then checked by inspectors with the repair company, the airline and the FAA.
But the inspector general at the Department of Transportation has investigated those checks and balances and has repeatedly warned over the past six years that FAA and industry inspectors are not monitoring the work the way they should. His reports are written in the dry bureaucratic language of Washington, D.C., but they add up to a scathing critique of the way the FAA monitors the foreign repair industry — or fails to. For instance, his 2008 report declared:
"FAA still does not have comprehensive data on how much and where outsourced maintenance is performed."Translation: The FAA does not require airlines to report exactly where they send their aircraft for which kinds of repairs. So, FAA inspectors are not sure which of the roughly 700 foreign repair shops they should inspect.
"There is no standard for all FAA offices regarding initial inspector visits, which can cause safety issues to go unchecked."Translation: The FAA's inspectors didn't even show up at some foreign repair stations to monitor their work for as long as three to five years.
"Problems existed [at foreign repair stations that the inspector general investigated], such as untrained mechanics, lack of required tools and unsafe storage of aircraft parts."FAA officials told the inspector general they would correct those problems. "He has made recommendations that FAA improve its oversight, and we take those recommendations seriously," says Gilligan of the FAA.
But so far, FAA officials have not put those changes in place.
"These findings are very, very disturbing," says John Goglia, a former presidential appointee on the National Transportation Safety Board. "We don't know what's going on in those facilities [foreign repair companies]. If we're not monitoring them properly, how do we know it's safe?"
Goglia says the fact that there have been so few crashes in recent years masks a troubling trend that the public can't see as airlines have been slashing costs.
"The margin of safety is getting thinner," he says. "The absence of an accident doesn't mean you're safe. We should be monitoring and doing our job before there's an accident, not after."
Well well well, this does seem to be more than an Air Canada problem, when will people wake up, when planes start falling out of the skies?
With this story now on the record, if Air Canada(god forbid) has one of their jets crash to earth killing people someone will be held responsible, that responsibility will fall on Federal Governments who allow this race to the bottom with aircraft maintenance....Let`s dig a little deeper shall we..
Imagine you're a pilot, and you're flying a Boeing 737 filled with more than 100 passengers. Suddenly, the gauges show that Engine No. 2 is in trouble, so you shut it off and start flying the plane on the other engine alone
That's a troubling enough scenario. But what if it's worse than that: What if it turns out that a mechanic mixed up the wires in the cockpit, not long before you took off — so your gauges are reversed and you actually turned off the one good engine?
That scenario could have happened a few weeks ago on a US Airways flight, if an observant employee at the airline hadn't made a discovery: Mechanics who had just repaired the plane at the Aeroman repair company in El Salvador had, in fact, crossed the wires on two engine indicators in the cockpit. NPR obtained internal US Airways documents that describe the incident, and a senior company executive confirmed it.
Mistakes In El Salvador
This is just one of at least three troubling maintenance mistakes that mechanics in El Salvador have made recently while fixing US Airways planes. There could be more. But airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration don't make maintenance problems public. NPR first learned about these incidents from mechanics at Aeroman and at US Airways.
Executives at Aeroman refused NPR's repeated requests for interviews and a tour of their maintenance facility. But NPR talked with several of Aeroman's mechanics, who asked not to be named on the grounds that they might be fired for talking with a reporter. And they told troubling stories about what happens on Aeroman's shop floor. Their concerns echo problems that the inspector general at the U.S. Department of Transportation has also found at other foreign repair shops.
The Aeroman mechanics, who commonly earn about $5,000 to $10,000 per year, say they're proud of their work.
there is much more to come on this investigation....Highly skilled Canadian employees now have to compete with workers making $5000 dollars per year...this race to the bottom, Harper`s world of corporate profit, Harper`s world of betraying decent Canadian jobs...
This is a warning to Air Canada and Stephen Harper from your friendly Powell River Persuader....You have been put on notice
When a jet comes crashing down from shoddy maintenance in El Salvador both you Stephen Harper and Air Canada executives will be jailed for aiding abetting in mass murder..
When will these outsourcings stop, we can`t compete with $5000 dollar per year mechanics, Aveos, Air Canada, Caterpillar, the race to the bottom...
Stephen Harper doesn`t care, he`s nothing but an arm of the Chinese Communist Government.
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