As the economy continues to rebound, more and more ways of effective cost reductions are popping up. Homeowners do their own painting, hotels look to renovations instead of new construction, and businesses look to reduce consumption in order to buy new materials less often. Airlines are also making adjustments, in some cases with the repair of planes in their fleets. While there have been savings for many carriers, it has raised fears that this is coming at the expense of customer safety.
Highlighted in an article from Condé Nast Traveler, a damning case document from the FAA against St. Louis based carrier Trans States shows that between 2007 and 2008 the airline suffered through maintenance lapses, resulting in a $2.5 million fine. An example of a misstep the carrier committed was failure to adjust a wing strap which allows the pilot to adjust the plane’s angle and slow down upon landing.
Unfortunately these fines aren’t just being levied against small economy based airlines. In the first half of 2010, six airlines were hit with multi-million dollar fines, including Delta and American Airlines. Though everything is not as dire as it may seem. Many of the facilities outside the US are as competent as their US counterparts, but there has been enough concern about the quality and control of these facilities that it has garnered the attention of Congress.
Travelling hasn’t been the same in the last decade and many companies in the airline industry all have been looking to cut costs and increase revenue as many ways as possible through job cuts, higher fares and outsourcing aspects of the job. But by outsourcing tasks, in particular heavy repairs to fleets, airlines risk losing just as much in fines as they would by keeping the maintenance domestic, and stunting job growth at home.
Much more can be found at the Condé Nast Traveler site here.