Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
In a follow-up to Flying Cheap, the hard-hitting investigation of how major airlines outsource flights to regional airlines, the Investigative Reporting Workshop and PBS FRONTLINE examined another growing trend: the outsourcing of major airline repair work to lower-cost, independent maintenance operations abroad and here in the U.S.
Correspondent Miles O'Brien explores the world of contract maintenance and focuses this new investigation on an ST Aerospace facility in Alabama, which 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 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. One veteran FAA inspector concludes, "Something's seriously wrong here, and we need to investigate this."
PBS is featuring the 20-minute show in the FRONTLINE magazine series debut. The program will extend FRONTLINE's award-winning brand of broadcast journalism, with more fast-turnaround news reports and timely investigations airing throughout FRONTLINE's new year-round schedule.