In late February I was elected as the Aircraft Engineers International (AEI) Secretary of the Americas by the AMFA Joint Advisory Council (JAC). It’s with much pride that I’ve assumed this role, and am working hard to increase AMFA’s participation. AEI is a group of Union represented Aircraft Maintenance Engineers that have come together with a focus on safety, regulations, solidarity, and upgrading the status of the licensed aircraft maintenance engineer.
You might be thinking, “I’m an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic, not an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer,” but they are one in the same. As with many things, in different parts of the world terminologies are different. Maintenance Engineer, Technician, and Mechanic are all synonymous words for our craft.
Some of the issues currently being dealt with include the following:
- We are responding to statements by European Aviation Safety Administration (EASA) that they would like to eliminate government licensing of maintenance personnel and change to a system where each Airline or MRO issues their own license or authorization.
- The latest AEI data indicates that there has been a worldwide reduction in licensed maintenance staff while simultaneously putting increased pressure on the remaining staff to do more with less. Keep in mind that while some may believe they are just helping their employer, they may just be eliminating their own job in the future.
- The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) has been locked in a difficult struggle with Qantas. Qantas announced job cuts amounting to 1 in 6 employees. AEI issued a press release along with many of the affiliates, including AMFA, issuing their own letters of support. These letters of support are now posted at maintenance bases all over Australia as a reminder that they are not alone in this fight.
- We continue to investigate flight crew pocket write ups by analyzing logbook data. This is a very concerning issue as write-ups that are allowed to fly until the aircraft reaches a maintenance base are a significant safety concern. Additionally, they allow a carrier to reduce the number of maintenance bases and the overall maintenance staffing.
- Much work has been done to amend the existing EASA language regarding release authority, and better define the functions and responsibilities of licensed support staff. This is an ongoing item but is very encouraging, and has future implications on our own Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).
Please look for more information and updates in the near future.
AEI, Secretary of the Americas
AMFA Local 14, President