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  • GE Caledonian Case: What About The Operators?
    Posted by Sean Broderick 5:02 PM on Feb 28, 2010

    FAA's proposed penalty against GE Caledonian raises a few questions. The Glasgow, Scotland repair station is accused of not following GE maintenance manuals while performing work on 101 engines from February 2005 to May 2008. Assuming at least some of those engines were returned to service without having the work corrected, where are the enforcement action letters for the carriers involved? Per the FARs:
    § 121.363   Responsibility for airworthiness.

    (a) Each certificate holder is primarily responsible for—

    (1) The airworthiness of its aircraft, including airframes, aircraft engines, propellers, appliances, and parts thereof; and

    (2) The performance of the maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alteration of its aircraft, including airframes, aircraft engines, propellers, appliances, emergency equipment, and parts thereof, in accordance with its manual and the regulations of this chapter.

    (b) A certificate holder may make arrangements with another person for the performance of any maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations. However, this does not relieve the certificate holder of the responsibility specified in paragraph (a) of this section. (Emphasis added.)
    If there are unairworthy engines in service because of GE Caledonian's work but there aren't any enforcement actions pending against the shop's airline customers, does that mean Southwest Airlines won't see letters of civil penalty it the "exhaust-gate" and fuselage repair investigations?

    While these probes aren't wrapped up, reports indicate that in each case-- even though the airline is getting most of the media attention (not to mention some from FAA itself)--the repair station violated the rules.

    In exhaust-gate, the repair station reportedly--and unbeknownst to Southwest--contracted out work it wasn't authorized to send out.

    In the fuselage repair controversy, the repair station reportedly deviated from approved procedures, relying on an approval from Southwest that the carrier wasn't authorized to give.

    The three cases seem similar; it will be interesting to see if they follow similar enforcement paths.

    Tags: om99, Southwest, FAA, GE

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