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Bill Radke: Congress is taking up a major aviation bill today. Supporters say it will help save lives. But the European Union opposes it -- claiming it's actually designed to save American jobs. From the European Desk in London Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority currently inspects foreign aircraft repair stations once a year. A provision in the new bill will increase that to twice a year. In the future, if a foreign repair station has not been inspected twice, U.S. airlines won't be able to use it.

American labor unions back the bill. They argue that many foreign countries are not as rigorous as the states when it comes to safety. But the European Commission says the bill is pure protectionism.

Kieran Daley of Air Transport Intelligence:

Kieran Daley: What this is all about is making it difficult for U.S. airlines to find approved overseas maintainers of the aircraft so that the work would have to stay in the States.

If Congress passes the bill in its current form, the European Union says it will pull out of a pending international aviation safety agreement. And it could retaliate with its own safety regulations.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.