Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Outsourcing your job, your safety, your life?

We watch Democracy Now! on Link TV every morning via our satellite server. Arriving a few minutes early to the station yesterday, I quickly became absorbed in a program revealing the outsourcing of commercial aviation's jet liner fleet's maintenance.

Maybe it was the fact my wife and I plan to fly to Oregon this summer that this program caught my attention. To get from where we live to Portland, America West seems to be the airline with the best route and schedules from here to there.

Well, in the new global economy which the program labeled "the rush to the bottom", I wasn't really surprised to learn aircraft maintenance by the major airlines is being exported to such places as El Salvador and China. And just how much business does that amount to? Oh, the percentage of maintenance done overseas by Southwest, said the program, amounts to 72%; Continental Airlines, 73%; America West, a whopping 80%!

While airline mechanics in the U.S. can make as much as $38/hour, their counterparts in El Salvador can make as much as $12,000/year. Training of these mechanics was also brought into question and much of the training material used, they noted, is from manuals, all in English, which most El Salvadoran flight mechanics don't speak. But there was some comfort offered when the program noted these training manuals also come with pictures!

The program also highlighted a couple of aircraft accidents due to improper maintenance. In one, forturnately, there were no casualties during the crash landing. In the other, unfortunately, their were no survivors.

Now it's the FAA's responsibility to inspect these maintenance facilities to see they are adhering to strict safety standards. But with approximately 5,000 facilities to stay on top of, it's a task that agency simply isn't really up to handling. Last year's federal budget cut 300 FAA inspector's jobs. That was their sacrifice, I suppose, to redirect those monies to Iraq where they can be employed destroying lives and shit. Hopefully, not at the sacrifice of yours next time you fly.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course the out-sourcing of jobs has now become that giant sucking sound that Ross Perot predicted. Even airline maint? Wonder who services Air Force 1 & 2? We can be sure it isn't Venezuela! D.K.

enigma4ever said...

I AM BACK..I LEFT A SWEET LITTLE RUMMY asswipe note below....
I will now sit down with my coffee and read for a bit....so good to be back..and Dada after Blogger AGAIN broke my poor little Enigma Cafe Coffee Counter ( aka Blogroll) I think all is repaired- thanks for the funny notes...you kept me laughing while sticking my foot up Blogger's butt....

some_maineiac said...

i get on an airplane every 2 years or so and am flying america west next month 3/4 of the way across the country and back...oh, boy...

great timing dada...thanks a lot...i will wave to you if i make it as far as texas...(sarcasm meant, but no offense intended) (grin)