Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., are calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate whether airline mechanics have been pressured to ignore possible safety issues, CBS News reports.
"A critical component to any effective maintenance plan is an adherence to maintenance protocols and a safety-centric environment that encourages mechanics to both identify and report safety concerns," the senators wrote in a letter to Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell on Tuesday. "When safety standards are violated, the FAA has the obligation to investigate allegations and require corrective action."
CBS conducted an 8-month long investigation, interviewing dozens of airline mechanics who said they have faced strong pressure to turn aircraft around quickly. Longtime American Airlines mechanic Gary Santos told the network management will "try to pressure the individual not to write it up."
"Airlines naturally have an economic incentive to keep aircraft in service as long as possible . . . but despite the need for safety to take precedence over airline profitability, mechanics have reported that managers have instructed them to 'skip a few steps' in the maintinence process or to perform only the specific work assigned and ignore other safety defects they detect," Santos said. "Many of these safety-critical personnel fear retribution or even termination if they fail to comply with these dangerous directives or if they bring safety concerns to light."
The senators end by asking the FAA to answer a series of questions about how complaints are filed, reports of safety lapses, and the CBS report.
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