The Federal Aviation Administration is moving to impose new maintenance standards on older airliners, but industry officials say the agency needs to do a more thorough job of inspecting the aircraft.
The Senate aviation subcommittee examined the problem of aging airliners at a hearing on Tuesday, a session that also produced a warning from the panel's chairman that tougher government regulations might be on the way.The chairman, Wendell Ford, D-Ky., told reporters after the session that Congress should consider requiring the FAA to force an increase in the frequency of inspections of older aircraft, require replacing parts rather than merely examining them, and set training and experience standards for inspectors and mechanics.
Ever since the roof of a 19-year-old Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 peeled off over Hawaii last April, sweeping a flight attendant to her death, attention has been focused on the older aircraft.
The FAA and the nation's major airlines agreed in February to more than $800 million worth of improvements to be made on 1,300 older Boeing jetliners.
On Tuesday, Anthony J. Broderick, associate FAA administrator for regulation, said that by early May, the agency will propose rules that would require more than 160 structural changes in Boeing 727s, 737s and 747s.