A major investigation by CBS News has revealed that airline mechanics are being pressured by their management to overlook and ignore potential safety issues on aircraft. These findings by this outlet indicate that safety is being compromised in an effort to keep both operations and profits flowing.
An investigation by CBS News has revealed that mechanics within the nation’s aviation industry are being pressured by management staff to ignore safety issues on the craft that they are servicing. The outlet indicates that, in some cases, safety is perhaps being compromised in an effort to keep operations and profits flowing.
During one conversation between a mechanic and a manager at the former carrier, the mechanic was quoted by the outlet as saying that, “We’re an accident waiting to happen.”
The mechanic had reportedly alerted management to technical issues that resulted in a number of planes being pulled out of operational use. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) then found that the mechanic suffered retaliation for bringing these issues to management’s attention.
Speaking to the outlet of his experience, American Airlines’ mechanic Gary Santos likened this ethos to “a short-cut environment.” With regards to reporting maintenance issues, he added that, “They try to pressure the individual not to write it up.”
He also confirmed to Kris Van Cleave, the outlet’s correspondent, that he was compromising his job by speaking out. The outlet reports that it spoke to 26 separate airline mechanics from both American and Southwest and that all “described being pressured by managers to focus only on the work assigned.”
Further explaining, another mechanic said, “If you’re working, say, on a landing gear, lubing it, and you notice that a flap three feet away is leaking, and you write up the flap leak, you’re beyond your scope.”
These allegations are supported by the results of a number of whistleblower complaints by the FAA and other organizations, all of which were issued between 2015 and 2018.
Offering its comments to the outlet, the FAA said, “We investigate all allegations of safety standards violations, regardless of the source…We continue to be involved in investigations related to both American and Southwest Airlines. If those safety allegations are substantiated, we will take swift and appropriate action.”