Airline Maintenance Outsourcing

Fields that rely on outsourcing.
Fields that rely on outsourcing.

What are the pros and cons of airline maintenance outsourcing jobs? Are you wondering if you should look for an outsourced job in airline maintenance? Keep reading to find out more.

Concerns about Outsourcing Airline Maintenance

The number one concern that comes to mind in relation to airline maintenance outsourcing jobs is safety. How safe can it be when the people with the outsourced jobs aren't required to hold licenses? In some situations, the employees are not required to have the same licensing that United States maintenance workers are. Only the supervisors have to be licensed.

Airlines, of course, will tell you that the safety of passengers on the planes is not being compromised. Of course, they appreciate the ability to outsource their maintenance jobs to workers in El Salvador (for example), because those workers make one-third of what each of the United States airline workers do/did. Some airlines are reconsidering the outsourcing to other countries idea, as the article in the Dallas News indicates.

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing

The biggest pro of outsourcing to other countries is the drop in cost for the airlines. Airline workers in other locations can make as little as one-third of the salaries earned by on-site mechanics in the U.S. The biggest con of outsourcing to other countries is apparent. If maintenance work is performed by less skilled workers, the safety of the planes could be compromised.

Not all airlines outsource to countries outside of the United States. Some companies use outsourced labor, but hire contractors to handle the work in the home country. They are able to staff up during busy times without having to pay benefits or face potential unemployment claims. They don't get the perk of inexpensive labor enjoyed by those who outsource oversease.

Find Airline Maintenance Outsourcing Jobs

Whether you live in the United States or another country, outsourced airline maintenance jobs are a possibility.

Some of the airlines that outsource their maintenance jobs inlcude:

  • JetBlue
  • Southwest
  • American West
  • Northwest
  • United

According to an article in Consumer Affairs, Atlantic Airlines only outsources about 20% of their maintenance work, and even then it's not heavy maintenance. They prefer to keep the more complicated tasks to their skilled workers on-site.

It seems that most airlines outsource at least some portion of their maintenance work. That means looking for a job in outsourced airline maintenance will most likely pay off. The employment opportunities should grow.

While you could always pursue companies that hire airline maintenance crews, you may want to consider a job on-site simply because the pay is better. Since airlines don't outsource all of the maintenance work, it's feasible to consider jobs with the airline companies.

Other spots to look:

Job Requirements

In some countries, you don't even need a license to complete airline maintenance unless you want to be a supervisor. According to an article from the Washington Post in 2005, there's a history of contractors not even requiring criminal background checks or drug tests, though there have been movements to amend that.

If you enjoy going above and beyond and you want phenomenal training and endless opportunities, the military is a good place to start. You may one day hope to work on a commercial airline's maintenance crew (outsourced or not), but want credentials behind your name. Working with the Air Force, for example, can give you the experience and education you need.

An aptitude for mechanics is also necessary. You will also need at least a high school education or GED, plus an FAA approved license to perform airline maintenance in the United States.

Also in the United States, you'll typically need a driver's license with a clean driving record, and a basic set of tools.

Outside of the United States, requirements will vary. As mentioned above, the FAA approved license is not always necessary for all levels of airline maintenance workers.

Job Duties

  • Perform routine aircraft inspections
  • Maintain, inspect, troubleshoot and repair engines as well as all other parts of the plane, to include propellers, wings, fuel systems, and more
  • Perform administrative duties
Airline Maintenance Outsourcing