As a long time Aircraft Maintenance Manager I have seen a trend of poor utilization of resources exhibited by a majority of Mainline carriers that subcontract Regional Airlines.
Regional airlines operate as Subcontractors, Utilizing smaller aircraft for smaller markets. Giving the Mainline connectivity to it's routes and name recognition in smaller markets. With the added benefit of having quality control over the Regional while having limited financial and regulatory obligations.

All Regional airlines share some of the same basic issues when it comes to Aircraft Maintenance. They have to maintain all of the same safety, regulatory and training standards as the Legacy Carriers, while keeping their costs down. They require a highly skilled workforce, but generally pay lower wages then the
Main Line. Due of the limited budgets of Regional airlines, a new or inexperienced Aircraft Mechanic at a Regional airline makes less then most car mechanics. Making it hard for Regional's to maintain a solid work force.


Regional airlines offer a young aircraft technician an opportunity to learn the trade, trouble shoot skills on various Aircraft Systems, learn how to use the Manuals, clear understanding of Procedures and Record Keeping and various computer skills, and they do this in a small nurturing environment where talent and skills are shared.


Main Line carriers should seize the opportunity they have created. When they entrust a Regional Airline to wear their brand and livery They should have an obligation to the Regional's a well.Let the Regional's do all of the leg work, let them train dedicated professional Aircraft Technicians and after a set amount of years give Regional mechanics a stepping stone to get an Aircraft Maintenance job with the Mainline. This is a win-win for everyone.



The win for the Regional is that they can now keep their labor cost down, they would know how long a their average mechanic will stay in the company. Very few mechanics would ever reach the top scale pay before they moved on to a Mainline carrier. The hiring process would be less strained by offering new hire candidates the potential to move up to a Mainline.
Regional's will have to pay their maintenance leadership positions appropriately, in general they would benefit from a work force that changes every 5 or so years. Generally the Regional's have a portion of their maintenance facilities in the smaller markets. Making aircraft maintenance jobs in a smaller cities limited mostly to Regional Airlines.


Just recently a Regional that had went through a bankruptcy negotiated an agreement with their pilots and the Mainline carrier. As positions became available the Mainline would extend offers to the high time pilots of the Regional Airline.


Time will show this is a good policy, it helps with employee moral and gives the mainline less of a learning curve. That was a good start by the Mainline, they should extend the same offer to the well deserved Professional Aircraft Maintenance Technicians that keep their Livery flying.