Northwest Airlines (NWACQ:PK) recently surrendered its Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Part 145 repair station certificate in order to avoid having it revoked by the FAA, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) reported.
"Northwest Airlines fell far behind in maintaining the staffing and training requirements needed to keep its FAA Part 145 repair station certificate and decided to drop it voluntarily at the end of January," said AMFA National Safety and Standards Director John Glynn. "They were under serious scrutiny, and in effect they quit before they were fired. To my knowledge, Northwest is the only major airline that is operating without this very important Part 145 certificate."
Glynn said Northwest can still do most maintenance work under the basic FAA Part 121 certificate that allows the company to operate as a U.S. air carrier, but has lost the more far-reaching maintenance authority that comes only with the Part 145 certificate. "For example, Northwest can no longer subcontract maintenance work to repair facilities unless they have their own Part 145 certificates, which not all do," Glynn said.
"Northwest can continue to do maintenance work for non-U.S. airlines under contracts, but can no longer do ad hoc maintenance work for foreign carriers, which require Part 145 certification for this work." He said U.S. airlines often handle ad hoc maintenance for foreign carriers, who typically do not have maintenance facilities at U.S. airports. "United Airlines, American Airlines, Lufthansa and some others have turned this work into profit centers."
"The loss of its 145 certificate demonstrates that operations are not normal, no matter what Northwest claims. Losing its FAA Part 145 certificate is not going to cripple Northwest Airlines, but it places serious new limitations on the company and shows that maintenance standards and capabilities have declined," Glynn said.
AMFA's craft union represents aircraft maintenance technicians and related support personnel at Alaska Airlines, ATA, Horizon Air, Independence Airlines, Mesaba Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. AMFA's credo is "Safety in the air begins with quality maintenance on the ground." To learn more about AMFA, visit www.amfanatl.org.
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