A new report by the Transport Workers Union says that airlines are increasingly performing heavy maintenance in foreign countries, limiting the number of aircraft maintenance jobs in the U.S.
The report said that approximately 24% of heavy aircraft maintenance is performed offshore, up from about 7% in 2003. The report includes estimates that U.S. airlines spend about $2 billion annually on maintenance work in South America, China and Europe, an amount that could otherwise be spent on an estimated 8,200 jobs for U.S. mechanics.
Foreign outsourcing “creates an unnecessary and devastating economic impact on future generations,” said John Samuelsen, president of the TWU, which represents about 60,000 airline industry workers, including American mechanics, who are jointly represented by TWU and the International Association of Machinists.
“There is not only an economic expense due to the loss of 8,200 jobs that should go to American kids rather than to foreign countries, but [offshore work] also exposes air travelers to unnecessary risk,” Samuelsen said. “We should be going the opposite direction, moving jobs back onto American soil where the airlines have can exercise more control.”