Taking further aim at foreign repair station safety, the House of Representatives last week approved a bill to strengthen the FAA’s oversight of maintenance shops outside the U.S.
Reintroduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Pete DeFazio (D-Oregon) earlier this year, the Global Aircraft Maintenance Safety Improvement Act, H.R.7321, calls on the FAA to conduct unannounced inspections at foreign repair stations that conduct work on aircraft operated under the U.S. FAR Part 121. It further would establish minimum qualifications for mechanics and others working on U.S.-registered aircraft at foreign repair stations. Further, air carriers would be required to submit detailed maintenance reports.
DeFazio said the bill is intended to “close the gap between our safety standards and those of foreign repair stations,” and added, “By ensuring a uniform standard of safety, no matter where an aircraft is repaired and maintained, we will make our skies safer.”
In introducing the bill, DeFazio has expressed concern that the FAA has been too slow to act on previous recommendations on increasing safety oversight at foreign repair stations. The bill, he said, “establishes one standard of safety regardless of where the aircraft is maintained.”
The Aeronautical Repair Station Association called the bill “a solution in search of a problem” and added, “The industry’s safety record is exceptional and new, unnecessary mandates on the agency or industry will only divert resources."