We have witnessed and borne serious changes to the economic structure of our industry these past 12 months. As noted previously, there seems to be a lack of recognition of aviation’s importance to the overall economy by the politicians in D.C.
I have heard of no bailouts or even vocal support from those charged with getting the economy back in shape. Trivial though it may sound, I am reminded of a scene in the movie The American President, where the president, played by Michael Douglas has to break a date with his girlfriend, Annette Benning, (something, by the way, I would never do given the opportunity) to avert a possible airline strike during the Christmas holidays because, as he states, “the administration can not afford to have an airline strike during the holidays.” This is a contrived scenario bearing no resemblance to our current situation. Nevertheless, I cannot imagine anything close to this happening in support of our industry in today’s political atmosphere.
In addition to the many layoffs of technicians occurring at the OEMs and MROs, there has been the growing trend to ship aircraft maintenance work overseas and to Latin America. Jobs are being lost and with them a lot of America’s leadership in aviation technology.
And, from what you read and hear the FAA is losing, if it has not already lost, its leadership in the global regulatory realm. True, harmonization of worldwide aviation regulations is needed, but the airline-centered view of EASA does not provide a better answer. After all, most of what EASA pushes out is a mishmash of regulations that attempts to appease the political interests of some 27+ countries. I’m not promoting isolationism, but suggest that the FAA reassume its leadership by using all the excellent inputs it received in the last 10 years or so from the ARAC committees it created. Many experts from the various spheres of our business shaped these advisories with the future of our industry in mind.
Finally, greater attention and recognition should be given to the role aircraft technicians play in the safety and economics of air travel. This cannot be understated.
My point: 2010 must not be just another new year. It can be an opportunity for each individual technician to assert him or herself for the good of the profession. If, as individuals and as a group, technicians remain apathetic to what is going on around them, then it will be just more of the same. If, however, voices and resources are joined together as a unified front, 2010 can be different.
I know you all have heard this before, but really it does not take that much effort. Talk with your co-workers about how getting the job done can be improved. Make efficiency improvement suggestions to management. Learn to relate to your local PMI on regulatory issues. Join peer groups like the AMTSociety, and give some personal time to self-improvement. Try to attend maintenance events where you can mingle with your peers. Keep up with the maintenance publications, and learn from the many articles and papers written by experts. Stay informed.
Improve your profession for yourself and for those who follow.
Best wishes for a happy and most successful 2010 to all!