Airline training for the mechanics of such shops ranged from a one-hour video to 11 hours of video and classroom training, the report stated. An unidentified carrier mailed a workbook to each noncertified facility and told the mechanics to read the information and fax back a signed form indicating they'd completed the training, the study said.
Mead recommended that the FAA identify noncertified shops that perform critical maintenance work, and determine whether it should limit the type of work those facilities can do. The FAA should increase its oversight of such shops if it chooses not to limit the work they can do, Mead concluded.
The FAA said the Inspector General's report failed to make clear that work at noncertified facilities is done by federally certified mechanics who must pass tests and meet experience requirements.
The FAA will evaluate Mead's recommendations, and continue to help airlines improve their safety programs, agency spokeswoman Laura Brown said. She noted that new rules will create FAA-approved training programs for all airline mechanics.
"We'll work with air carriers to ensure they maintain good surveillance of the mechanics who work for them," Brown said.
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The nation's airlines have assigned important maintenance tasks to unlicensed repair shops that aren't inspected by federal regulators, a government watchdog agency found.
As airlines cut costs by outsourcing their maintenance, federal safety inspectors need to keep a closer eye on the outside repair work, the Transportation Department's inspector general told Congress...
The American aviation system is the safest in the world, in part because of the quality of the repair and maintenance systems that help keep those jumbo jets aloft.
Almost half the 5,000-employee Atlanta shop's engine overhauls --- which can take two months and cost $1.5 million --- are for outside customers.