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AEI Secretary of the Americas Regarding Aviation Safety
Feb 20, 2019

February 20, 2019

Dear AMFA Members:

Our affiliation with the Aircraft Engineers International (AEI) has benefits that flow in both directions.  As an affiliate, AMFA participates with AEI and learns about global aviation issues that pertain to licensed aircraft maintenance technician/engineers worldwide.  Likewise, we share information from the United States regarding aviation issues that we face, from contract negotiations to maintenance practices.  Most recently, we have shared AIR21 Whistleblower filings and subsequent safety issues that have been the subject of so much media attention at Southwest and American Airlines.

We may take for granted the legal protections we enjoy in the United States, such as the AIR21 Whistleblower Protection Program, but it's certainly not that way in other countries.  AEI was encouraged by the reports they have received from AMFA and released the following report to their members.  

The far reaching relationships that we have built with other aircraft maintenance technician and engineer unions via our affiliation with the Aircraft Engineers International benefits all of us.  Please visit their website at www.airengineers.org to learn more.  


Louie Key
AEI Secretary of the Americas


There have been some worrying but unsurprising news reports from the United States the past few days. American aircraft maintenance technicians have been speaking out about being bullied and threatened on safety issues. Basically, they have been placed under pressure by airlines, to take short cuts on safety. What has been positive this time though is the fact that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has actually investigated and confirmed the claims. AEI congratulates all those brave colleagues who stood up against threats of dismissal and rampant commercialism.

Yet aviation is a global industry and safety standards can only be maintained on a global scale if all regulatory authorities play their part and ensure maintenance technicians and Licensed Aircraft Engineers are able to do the job the regulations require them to do. It cannot be acceptable and cannot be allowed to continue that safety professionals have to be concerned about job dismissal when upholding safety just because senior airline management are concerned about their bonuses and airline profit.

The EU and EASA are well informed that bullying and threats are common in Europe too. Indeed, the EU were informed of exactly this issue in a letter from AEI in October 2018 only for the EU to not even respond. They continue to wash their hands of the issue by issuing worthless statement such as “in this context, should you have evidences of malpractices leading to degradation of safety, I invite you to contact EASA without undue delay”. Such words do not protect the reporter but as has been seen with an ongoing safety issue with Germany, also have no effect. EASA and the EU after four years of apparent activity, have still failed to bring Germany into line regarding safety related aircraft maintenance certification procedures. It is also well known that Germany has a long history of denial when questions are raised over their safety culture. In real terms this leads to threats of dismissal by those brave enough to speak out.

It is a real safety concern that in 2019 safety professionals on both sides of the Atlantic have to fear for their future if they choose safety over on time departure. The recent CBS news report and an RTL report from July 2018 clearly highlight the failure of current safety policies and a box ticking approach being paid to human factors and safety culture by CEO’s. Allowing this to continue is not in the publics interest and is not safe.

The EU and EASA have turned their backs on maintenance personnel for far too long in their rush to appease airline CEO’s. It is time to redress the balance.

AEI calls on both EASA and the EU to issue a public statement of their open support for aviation maintenance engineers fighting for safety on the front line of commercial aviation. The EU should also revoke EASA’s policy of “making friends” with those they regulate and send a clear signal that there will be consequences for airlines and managers who choose to undermine safety.

The EU and EASA must endorse safety before profit.

Robert Alway
AEI Executive Board Member

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