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US ponders drug testing in foreign aircraft shops

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 13, 2014 at 7:23 pm •  Published: March 13, 2014
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DALLAS (AP) — Aviation regulators say they're considering rules that would require alcohol and drug testing for people who work on U.S. airline planes in foreign maintenance and repair shops.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that it is seeking public comments. The agency wants to know which countries allow random drug testing and which ban it, and which drugs are most abused in other countries.

Transportation workers in the U.S. are subject to drug and alcohol testing, and Congress voted in 2012 to extend the rules to foreign aircraft repair shops.

However, the FAA could run into a patchwork of international laws about drug testing, which can range from bans to greater privacy protections. In 2000, the FAA abandoned an effort to require drug testing for employees of foreign airlines that operate in the U.S.

The FAA said extending drug-testing laws overseas "presents complex practical and legal issues and could impose potentially significant costs on industry."

In recent years, U.S. airlines have shifted more maintenance work overseas. Labor unions have complained, saying that the foreign shops aren't regulated as closely as ones in the U.S.

There are about 120 foreign repair stations that work on planes flown by U.S.-based airlines, the FAA said in a Federal Register posting.

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