William McGee is a former airlines operations manager who has made a career as an aviation journalist, writing for Consumer Reports and other publications. He's an FAA-licensed aircraft dispatcher and in 2010 was named the sole consumer advocate to the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee, formed to make recommendations to the Department of Transportation.
In an interview on NPR, McGee outlined what he has encountered in the outsourcing of Airline repairs and maintenance that is quite startling...
"Aircraft maintenance and repairs are also frequently outsourced — in some cases to unlicensed mechanics in China, Singapore, Mexico and El Salvador."
"Among the problems they've talked about are doors that were not sealed properly... There are problems with engines that have had to be shut down, and there are serious problems that have led to smoke in the cabin," he says. "And any time you have smoke in the cabin, that could lead to catastrophe. These airplanes are coming back in conditions where additional work needs to be done to get them back online, in many cases."
"The Federal Aviation Administration does not require airlines to list the subcontractors they work with. And finding out that information can be quite difficult, says McGee."