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AS A RESULT OF THESE CHANGES, THE FAA BEGAN TO GRANT EXEMPTIONS FROM ITS RESTRICTIVE RULE IN ORDER TO PERMIT WIDER USE OF FOREIGN REPAIR FACILITIES BY U.S. AIRLINES. THIS DID NOT RAISE TOO MANY COMPLAINTS AT FIRST. HOWEVER, WHEN FAA CODIFIED THESE EXEMPTIONS IN A RULE, MANY PEOPLE BEGAN TO OBJECT. THEY FEARED THAT THIS NEW RULE WOULD LEAD TO THE LOSS OF AMERICAN JOBS AND A REDUCTION IN THE SAFETY OF U.S. AIRLINES.
THE CONCERN FOR SAFETY AND AMERICAN JOBS IS ONE THAT I CERTAINLY SHARE. BUT I WONDER IF RESTRICTING THE USE OF FOREIGN FACILITIES MIGHT REBOUND TO THE DETRIMENT OF AMERICAN WORKERS. IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE IS MORE REPAIR WORK DONE IN THIS COUNTRY FOR FOREIGN AIRLINES THAN THERE IS WORK SHIPPED OVERSEAS BY U.S. AIRLINES. IF WE RESTRICT THE U.S. FROM USING FOREIGN REPAIR STATIONS, THOSE COUNTRIES MIGHT RETALIATE BY PULLING THEIR REPAIR WORK OUT OF THIS COUNTRY.
IF THAT SORT OF TRADE WAR OCCURS, EMPLOYEES
EVERYWHERE WILL BE HURT.
ANOTHER PROBLEM IS THE CAPACITY OF REPAIR STATIONS IN THIS COUNTRY TO DO ALL THE WORK THAT WILL HAVE TO BE DONE. OUR AIRLINES WILL SOON BE DOING A LOT OF WORK ON COLLISION AVOIDANCE EQUIPMENT, WIND SHEAR EQUIPMENT, AND AGING AIRCRAFT. IF FACILITIES IN THIS COUNTRY CANNOT ACCOMMODATE THIS WORK, WHERE WILL AIRLINES GO TO GET IT DONE.
BUT THE BIG ISSUE IS STILL SAFETY. I KNOW THAT THE FAA MUST CERTIFY A FOREIGN REPAIR STATION BEFORE IT CAN WORK ON U.S. AIRCRAFT. HOWEVER, QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN RAISED ABOUT THE
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE MECHANICS WHO WORK IN THESE FACILITIES, THE USE OF INFERIOR AIRCRAFT PARTS THERE, AND THE CAPABILITY OF THE FAA TO MONITOR THE
ACTIVITIES OF FOREIGN FACILITIES.
BY U.S. REP. JERRY COSTELLO
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AVIATION
JUNE 27, 1989
"FOREIGN REPAIR OF U.S. AIRCRAFT"
Mr. Chairman let me speak in support of this legislation, which would strengthen rules regarding U.S. repair of airplanes on international flights.
Last December, the Federal Aviation Administration relaxed rulings regarding repair and maintenance of U.S. aircraft. The new ruling will allow for more foreign maintenance, meaning less work and responsibility over these flights for U.S. workers.
It is my belief that this ruling means we place our high standard of air safety into foreign hands, with only the hope that they will live up to that standard. More overseas maintenance means less repair by U.S. workers, resulting in a lower safety standard and less quality control.
We must work to reverse these new regulations, in an effort to reduce the amount of repairs this regulation will cause to be done overseas. As a cosponsor of Mr. Mineta's legislation, I feel that the ruling is too broad to assure the flying passenger the same safety and quality required in the U.S. This legislation will address this problem, and I look forward to today's hearing.