ST Aerospace faces penalty and promise

DESPITE the low of a potential fine, maintenance, repair and operations provider ST Aerospace can be glad about one thing: maintenance orders for freight-related conversions hit a high at the tail end of 2010.

On 20 January the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a penalty charge, alleging that between 24 March 2007 and 8 May 2008, San Antonio Aerospace (right), as ST was known then, failed to conduct required pre-employment drug tests and receive verified negative drug test results before hiring 90 people to perform safety-sensitive functions, a violation of federal safety regulations.

“ST Aerospace takes our safety obligations seriously and in fact addressed the issues raised by the FAA way back in 2008,” the company said in a statement. “We co-operated with the FAA years ago to resolve their concerns and to implement quality controls to ensure that we continue to comply with the FAA’s drug-testing standards, and every one of the employees referred to in the FAA press release has passed their drug tests.”

The proposed penalty of US$1,025,000 would be a drop in the ocean for ST’s recent funds from maintenance contracts totalling S$320 million ($249.1 million).

Secured in the fourth quarter of 2010, the contracts range from three to 12 months and will be carried out at its facilities in the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe.

ST’s Aircraft Maintenance and Modification business secured new airframe contracts involving passenger-to-freighter (PTF) conversions and passenger-to-passenger/cargo (combi) conversions. For PTF conversions alone, the business redelivered a total of six converted freighters in the fourth quarter of 2010.

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