In a follow-up to Flying Cheap, the hard-hitting investigation into major airlines' outsourcing of flights to obscure regional airlines, award-winning investigative documentary series FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Workshop examine the growing trend of the outsourcing of major airline repair work to lower-cost independent maintenance operations in the U.S and abroad.
Among the companies there were investigated was ST Aerospace Mobile in Alabama.The company was established in September 1990 by Singapore Technologies Aerospace, a division of Singapore Technologies Engineering.
ST Aerospace Mobile now does heavy repair work for several major airlines, including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and US Airways. Through interviews with company mechanics and an examination of both government and company records, the investigation raises serious questions about the quality and experience of the workforce; the use of foreign workers with limited English proficiency; and the alleged use of unauthorized airline parts.
In the preview below, an ST employee told FRONTLINE correspondent Miles 'O Brien of a major inspection at ST by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last April. The company was given two weeks of warning before the FAA inspection. According to the employee, the resultant clean-up saw many "untagged and illegal" aircraft parts being thrown out and moved to a rented warehouse. After the inspection, some of the parts were taken back to ST.
FRONTLINE claimed that since 2004, ST had been cited in FAA reports repeatedly for "failing to properly tag, document and track parts through its maintenance system."
Click here to watch the full documentary.