Aeronautical Repair Station Association

It’s Just Ugly, Folks

There is nothing pretty or easy about a political process that directly impacts regulations.

The Office of Management and Budget, charged with making sure federal rules don’t cost too much money, usually reviews rules within a ninety-day period. Of course, in the case of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) repair station rule, the deadline has come and gone.

This example of governmental wrongheadedness started ten years ago with the passage of a law demanding the TSA issue a repair station security rule. The congressionally mandated security requirements apply to all FAA-repair station certificate holders. Of course, those located in Canada will not be impacted because they are not issued certificates from the FAA, so the U.S. government has no hook to demand compliance. The TSA could find little legitimate safety or national security reason for such a regulation. The nonsense was exacerbated by more political action in 2007, when the Congress established a hard deadline for the rule’s passage. The TSA’s failure to act on something it didn’t want or need to do in the first place resulted in the ban on another agency, the FAA, issuing new foreign repair station certificates. Due to the impact of the agency’s failure on the public, business, foreign relationships, and the continued operational safety of N-registered aircraft, ARSA found itself in the unenviable position of begging, pleading, and demanding a rule be passed that neither it nor its membership want or need.

The focus now is on bipartisan legislation that will “Lift the Ban.” Even if you believe foreign repair stations should not exist—you shouldn’t support the government punishing industry for an agency’s failure to act. THINK ABOUT THAT for a minute—how in the heck is the industry supposed to make the TSA act if the arm of government that created the agency can’t? Congress created the TSA, an executive agency, and demanded action of its creation. When the creation failed to act, the creator punished innocent and basically helpless parties—the public, the FAA and the industry.

The FAA must certificate repair stations around the world if N-registered aircraft are going to fly the globe. The next time someone transfers to a foreign air carrier on an overseas trip, it may be because there is no place to perform maintenance on a U.S.-registered aircraft at the destination. That doesn’t just impact business, it also impacts the safety of the American forced to fly on a foreign air carrier that may or may not maintain its aircraft to the same standards as the U.S. and its bilateral partners. If the FAA cannot spread its standards of aviation safety, the agency loses leadership and prestige, another blow to the public.

The outcome of inappropriate congressional action is just incredibly ugly all the way around.

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June 28th, 2013




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