Increasing financial pressure on airlines is resulting in steady reductions of maintenance staff at out stations. As a result of this phenomenon, flight crew are increasingly reluctant to report aircraft defects when away from home base. Statistics bear this out. A 2009 Airline Engineers International survey revealed that airlines, including majors reported inbound defects as high as 94% over only 6% outbound defects. Until recently, such behavior may have resulted only in incidents, albeit that well documented cases are scarce. This phenomenon may have been a root cause of at least one recent accident (Turkish Airlines, Schiphol, 2009).
One of the largest contract labor providers is the process of recruiting labor from outside the United States. This organization is currently in the process of gaining Department of Labor and Immigration and Naturalization approval in order to offer jobs and obtain appropriate visas. One of the potential sources being investigated is the UK, where they are also experiencing a shortage of qualified aircraft maintenance technicians. Not only is the contract aircraft technician labor pool growing and due to the shortage of qualified candidates, is now on the brink of becoming an international issue.
- Lack of timely servicing of aircraft with potentially flight-critical component or system problems.
- Poor quality aircraft servicing due to hiring of minimally-qualified staff
- Over-reliance on Minimum Equipment List (MEL) procedures as safety nets
- Incorrect information on the MEL within the airline operation center
- Inappropriate release of an aircraft by dispatch.