In the last twenty years, aircraft maintenance outsourcing has driven strong growth in the third-party Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility industry. In the United States, deficiencies in safety oversight and regulation have played a role in some maintenance-related incidents. Since then, Congress wrote legislation to require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to improve its safety oversight, particularly of offshore facilities. However, there has been no such pressure driving improvement in Australia. Questions have been raised about the poor practices in some offshore MRO facilities and about the safety oversight of offshored maintenance. This article argues that the existing system, based on International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, cannot provide certainty that the planes of Australian-registered airlines are maintained to best practice standards. This is for two reasons: the regulations have gaps and enforcement of the regulations leaves much to be desired.
Ian Hampson, et al., The Uncertain Oversight of Offshore Aircraft Maintenance: The Case of Australia, 81 J. Air L. & Com. 225 (2016)