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Secretive FAA Extension Becomes Law

On July 15, the president signed a bill reauthorizing the FAA through Sept. 30, 2017, which included policy riders that target the aviation maintenance industry.

For a comparison of how the recently-enacted repair station-specific language alters current law click here.

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee leadership elected – through secretive, backroom negotiations – to impose unnecessary, burdensome mandates on the international maintenance community and the FAA.

Of specific concern to maintenance providers and their customers:

(1) Foreign drug and alcohol testing.
The legislation reiterates a provision in the FAA Modernization & Reform Act (P.L. 112-95) requiring the FAA issue a proposed rule mandating all part 145 repair station employees responsible for safety sensitive maintenance functions on part 121 air carrier aircraft be subject to an alcohol and controlled substances testing program consistent with the laws of the country in which the repair station is located.  Unfortunately, the new bill includes arbitrary deadlines (requiring a notice of proposed rulemaking within 90 days of enactment and a final rule within a year) that will result in a hurried rulemaking with detrimental effects on the international aviation community, including the U.S. air carriers and the business and general aviation operators that benefit from the safe and efficient worldwide maintenance network.

(2) Mandatory pre-employment background checks.
The legislation mandates the FAA require pre-employment background investigations for all part 145 repair station employees performing safety-sensitive functions on an air carrier aircraft. This would significantly expand current Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements, lacks a safety and security justification, and is contrary to accepted risk-based oversight principles.

(3) Risk-Based Inspections.
The bill requires the FAA, in the context of its risk-based oversight of foreign repair stations, to focus on facilities performing scheduled heavy maintenance on part 121 air carrier aircraft and ensure the agency accounts for the frequency and seriousness of any corrective actions that part 121 air carriers must implement to aircraft following such work.

As business leaders and citizens, maintenance providers should be appalled that lawmakers used clandestine discussions to negotiate controversial policy additions to a “must-pass” FAA extension without opportunity for amendment. ARSA urges you to contact your representatives to express your dissatisfaction with the process and that Congress chose to impose new burdens on the aviation maintenance industry without any safety justification.

To find your representative and senators, visit ofmk.freeenterpriseaction.com/9avEPgM. On the upper right-hand side, you can find your legislators by entering your address and zip code. On the results page, you may view background and contact information for each of your elected officials, including websites, Twitter and Facebook pages and Washington, D.C. contact info. Use these means to remind those chosen to represent your interest that they’ve conspicuously forgotten a $100 billion global industry.

Previously from ARSA...

7/11/16 - Secretive FAA Extension Bill Targets Repair Stations

July 11, 2016

Late last week, House and Senate transportation leaders agreed to a bill reauthorizing the FAA through Sept. 30, 2017. The agency’s current authorization expires on July 15, making this a “must pass” extension. Unfortunately, lawmakers chose to attach policy riders that include several maintenance-related provisions, leaving the industry in a legislative bind.

Repair stations were not mentioned in a supplemental document released on July 6 detailing the bill’s key provisions, but House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee leadership elected – through secretive, backroom negotiations – to impose unnecessary, burdensome mandates on the international maintenance community and the FAA. The legislation is scheduled to be approved by the House and Senate without amendment before July 15.

Of specific concern to maintenance providers and their customers, the legislation includes:

(1) Foreign drug and alcohol testing.
The legislation reiterates a provision in the FAA Modernization & Reform Act (P.L. 112-95) requiring the FAA issue a proposed rule mandating all part 145 repair station employees responsible for safety sensitive maintenance functions on part 121 air carrier aircraft be subject to an alcohol and controlled substances testing program consistent with the laws of the country in which the repair station is located.  Unfortunately, the new bill includes arbitrary deadlines (requiring a notice of proposed rulemaking within 90 days of enactment and a final rule within a year) that will result in a hurried rulemaking with detrimental effects on the international aviation community, including the U.S. air carriers and the business and general aviation operators that benefit from the safe and efficient worldwide maintenance network.

(2) Mandatory pre-employment background checks.
The legislation mandates the FAA require pre-employment background investigations for all part 145 repair station employees performing safety-sensitive functions on an air carrier aircraft. This would significantly expand current Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements, lacks a safety and security justification, and is contrary to accepted risk-based oversight principles.

(3) Risk-Based Inspections.
The bill requires the FAA, in the context of its risk-based oversight of foreign repair stations, to focus on facilities performing scheduled heavy maintenance on part 121 air carrier aircraft and ensure the agency accounts for the frequency and seriousness of any corrective actions that part 121 air carriers must implement to aircraft following such work.

As business leaders and citizens, you should be appalled that lawmakers used clandestine discussions to negotiate controversial policy additions to a “must-pass” FAA extension without opportunity for amendment.  ARSA urges you to contact your representatives to express your dissatisfaction with the process and that Congress chose to impose new burdens on the aviation maintenance industry without any safety justification.

To find your representative and senators, visit http://ofmk.freeenterpriseaction.com/9avEPgM. On the upper right-hand side, you can find your legislators by entering your address and zip code. On the results page, you may view background and contact information for each of your elected officials, including websites, Twitter and Facebook pages and Washington, D.C. contact info. Use these means to remind those chosen to represent your interest that they’ve conspicuously forgotten a $100 billion global industry.

4/16/16 - Senate FAA Bill Passes, McCaskill Amendments Defeated

April 19, 2016

On April 19, the Senate approved an 18-month FAA reauthorization bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, 95-3.

ARSA and its members succeeded in ensuring two amendments filed by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) were kept out of the Senate-approved bill.  One proposed country-specific bans on foreign repair stations and the other would have prevented the FAA from issuing new foreign repair station certificates unless the agency completed a foreign drug and alcohol testing rulemaking and a pre-employment background check mandate in an expedited manner.  These provisions were defeated with the help of swift response from the association’s membership – grassroots action to oppose the amendments.

Unfortunately, the legislation still contains ARSA-opposed language that micromanages repair station oversight. The bill requires the FAA to complete its foreign repair station drug and alcohol testing rulemaking in an extremely expedited manner (despite no safety justification) and mandate maintenance companies working on air carrier aircraft conduct extensive pre-employment background checks.

Action now turns to the House of Representatives where leadership must determine whether to move forward with the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee-approved AIRR Act (and its controversial air traffic control provision) or pursue other options.  House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has already signaled his unfriendliness toward the Senate-passed bill.

4/14/16 - ARSA Working Congress: Senate Amendments Will Disrupt International Aviation

April 14, 2016

Two recently-filed amendments to the Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill will have a detrimental impact on the international aviation community, including the U.S. aviation maintenance sector. Maintenance providers must weigh-in with their Senators immediately to oppose the proposals.

On April 14, ARSA delivered a letter to Senate leadership strongly opposing the measures. The association reminded the lawmakers that if the proposals were adopted it would be U.S. companies, not foreign businesses, forced to sacrifice competitiveness and growth opportunities with no safety or security benefit.

The Amendments

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is seeking to prohibit FAA certification of new foreign repair stations:

McCaskill #3750: Prevents the FAA from certificating new repair stations in “countries [that] have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.”  While innocuous on its face, the amendment ignores the reality that the FAA cannot certificate new foreign repair stations that are unable to meet the same or equivalent safety and security standards as domestic facilities. Additionally, foreign applicants must demonstrate that their services are needed to support maintenance on U.S.-registered aircraft and components. New certificates should be based on meeting necessary regulatory requirements, not on location.

McCaskill #3751: This amendment bans the FAA’s certification of all foreign repair stations if the agency fails to complete the foreign drug and alcohol testing rule within one year and ensure pre-employment background checks are completed for foreign and domestic repair stations maintaining air carrier aircraft within 180 days. The proposal penalizes industry for a federal agency’s inaction, forces the FAA to circumvent basic rulemaking procedures and violates bilateral aviation safety agreements (risking retaliation against U.S. companies holding or seeking foreign certifications from other civil aviation authorities).

Take Action

Act now to prevent Congress from hindering the U.S. aviation industry’s international competitiveness without any safety or security justification.

(1) Click here to send a pre-populated message directly to both of your senators’ offices.

(2) Call the Senate operator (202) 224-3121, ask to be connected to your senators’ offices, then tell them to reject McCaskill amendments #3750 and #3751.

(3) Contact ARSA to learn more about how you can support the association’s efforts to protect the international aviation maintenance industry.

4/6/16 - Senate Begins FAA Bill Consideration

April 6, 2016

On April 6, the U.S. Senate began consideration of the chamber’s bill to reauthorize the FAA for 18 months.

The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016 (S. 2658) is expected to be debated and amended over the next week.  However, final passage isn’t guaranteed as lawmakers are attempting to attach unrelated provisions to the legislation, including airport security measures that are usually reserved for TSA/DHS related bills and controversial clean energy tax credits.

Unfortunately, the proposal contains ARSA-opposed language requiring the FAA to complete its foreign repair station drug and alcohol testing rulemaking in an extremely expedited manner and mandate businesses conduct extensive pre-employment background checks (both without safety or security justifications).

Meanwhile, the House’s Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act (the AIRR Act, H.R. 4441) remains in limbo as many lawmakers are currently unsupportive of the legislation’s air traffic control privatization.

Stay tuned to ARSA as Senate consideration continues.

3/16/16 - Senate Panel Approves Bipartisan FAA Bill, ARSA Objects to Maintenance Provisions

March 16, 2016

On March 16, as ARSA members stormed Capitol Hill for the association’s 2016 Legislative Day, the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee approved its 18-month, FAA reauthorization bill with bipartisan support.

While the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016 (S. 2658) doesn’t include controversial air traffic control privatization language, it does contain the House bill’s micromanagement of repair station oversight. As written, the bill would require the FAA to complete its foreign repair station drug and alcohol testing rulemaking in an extremely expedited manner (despite no safety justification) and mandate businesses conduct extensive pre-employment background checks.

ARSA strongly opposes these provisions and Legislative Day attendees made the issue a top priority during visits to Senate and House offices.  The bill now moves to the Senate floor for consideration in the near future.  Stay to ARSA tuned as the House and Senate reauthorization process continues.

3/9/16 - Senate FAA Bill: Déjà Vu All Over Again

March 9, 2016

On March 9, Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) unveiled the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016.

While the bipartisan 18-month reauthorization doesn’t include the AIRR Act’s controversial air traffic control privatization language, it does contain the House bill’s micromanagement of repair station oversight. As written, the bill would require the FAA to complete its foreign repair station drug and alcohol testing rulemaking in an extremely expedited manner (despite no safety justification) and mandate businesses conduct extensive pre-employment background checks.

ARSA strongly opposes these provisions.

Stay tuned as the association continues to support the aviation maintenance community’s interests on Capitol Hill. A bill summary provided by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee can be accessed by clicking here.

3/2/16 - AIRR Act Hits Turbulence, Senate Signals FAA Bill Release Imminent

March 2, 2016

Despite the Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee’s approval of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act (the AIRR Act, H.R. 4441) on Feb. 11 and plans for quick House floor consideration, the chamber’s FAA reauthorization plan is stalled as concern builds over the bill’s proposal to privatize air traffic control.

While House T&I Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) vows the AIRR Act will be considered by the full House in the near future, Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee leadership has announced the panel plans to introduce and consider its own legislation this month. At this time, the proposal’s details are unknown, however, it’s anticipated the bill will be far less “transformative” and more bipartisan than its House companion.

Meanwhile, ARSA continues to educate lawmakers about the aviation maintenance industry’s issues with the AIRR Act and urge the Senate to refrain from imposing unnecessary, burdensome mandates with no flight safety benefit.  On Feb. 10, in a letter to House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee leadership, ARSA’s Vice President of Legislative Affairs Daniel B. Fisher, detailed the association’s concerns with sec. 402 of the AIRR Act.

The legislation would impose new mandates on the aviation maintenance industry, including requiring the FAA to complete its foreign repair station drug and alcohol testing rulemaking in an extremely expedited manner (despite no real safety justification) and extensive pre-employment background checks.

In the letter, Fisher reminded lawmakers that, “Congress and regulators alike must realize that safety depends not on more legislation and regulation, but on the culture of safety within individual companies and effective partnerships among and between governments and industry.”

Remember, the AIRR Act is only a piece of legislation at this point. There are a number of steps in the process and the bill will likely undergo a major alteration before it becomes law. Consequently, attending ARSA’s 2016 Legislative Day on March 16 is more important than ever. Come tell your elected officials – face to face – about how the proposal will impact your company and its ability to compete globally.

2/10/16 - ARSA Details Concerns with AIRR Act

February 10, 2016

On Feb. 10, in a letter to House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee leadership, ARSA’s Vice President of Legislative Affairs Daniel B. Fisher, detailed the association’s concerns with sec. 402 of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act (the AIRR Act, H.R. 4441).

The legislation, which was introduced on February 3 and received committee approval on February 11, would impose new mandates on the aviation maintenance industry, including requiring the FAA to complete its foreign repair station drug and alcohol testing rulemaking in an extremely expedited manner (despite no real safety justification) and extensive pre-employment background checks.

In the letter, Fisher reminded lawmakers that, “Congress and regulators alike must realize that safety depends not on more legislation and regulation, but on the culture of safety within individual companies and effective partnerships among and between governments and industry.”

Remember, the AIRR Act is only a piece of legislation at this point. There are a number of steps in the process and the bill will likely undergo a major alteration before it becomes law. Consequently, attending ARSA’s 2016 Legislative Day on March 16 is more important than ever. Come tell your elected officials – face to face – about how the proposal will impact your company and its ability to compete globally.

2/4/16 - FAA Bill Highlights Need for ARSA Member Engagement

February 4, 2016

On Feb. 4, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) unveiled his long-awaited FAA reauthorization proposal, the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act (the AIRR Act, H.R. 4441).

The six-year authorization has garnered significant attention (and controversy) for spinning off air traffic control (ATC) from the FAA into a non-profit, independent corporation (“ATC Corporation”). The entity would be run by a board of directors (including representatives from U.S. air carriers, general aviation operators and the unions representing air traffic controllers and airline pilots), funded from unspecified fees levied on air carriers.

While the ATC Corporation is grabbing the headlines, buried in the 273 page proposal are provisions directly impacting the international aviation community. Here is the lowdown:

  • Foreign Drug & Alcohol Testing. The AIRR Act reiterates the mandated rulemaking from the last FAA reauthorization bill (the FAA Modernization & Reform Act) requiring all part 145 repair station employees responsible for safety-sensitive maintenance functions on part 121 air carrier aircraft be subject to an alcohol and controlled substances testing program (consistent with the applicable laws of the country in which the repair station is located). However, the AIRR Act takes it a step further by requiring the agency to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) within 90 days of enactment and a final rule one year later.
  • Mandated Background Checks. The proposal requires that all part 145 repair station employees performing a safety-sensitive functions on an air carrier aircraft undergo “a pre-employment background investigation sufficient to determine whether the individual presents a threat to aviation safety.” This is a significant expansion of current regulatory requirements.
  • Safety Assessment System. The AIRR Act expands on the FAA Modernization & Reform Act’s safety assessment system for part 145 repair stations. Specifically, it would grant the agency access to information or data in the possession of a part 121 air carrier “related to the frequency and seriousness of any corrective actions” implemented on aircraft following “heavy maintenance work” at a foreign repair station. Heavy maintenance work is defined as “a C-check, a D check, or equivalent maintenance operation with respect to the airframe of a transport category aircraft” (view details on how the language fits into current law).

ARSA will be communicating its concerns about the provisions to lawmakers and the broader industry in the near future.

Remember, the AIRR Act is only a piece of legislation at this point. There are a number of steps in the process and the bill will likely undergo a major alteration before it becomes law. Consequently, attending ARSA’s 2016 Legislative Day on March 16 is more important than ever. Come tell your elected officials – face to face – about how the proposal will impact your company and its ability to compete globally. (Registrants will receive free access to the March 9 online training session Repair Stations Go to Washington.)

As the FAA reauthorization process enters into full swing, be sure to stay tuned for the latest updates, including detailed analysis of the legislation’s other key provisions.

2/3/16 - House FAA Bill Unveiled

February 3, 2016

On Feb. 3, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) unveiled his long-awaited FAA reauthorization proposal (the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act). ARSA’s legislative team is poring over the bill and will work to ensure the interests of maintenance providers are well-represented.

Remember, introduction is just a beginning step in the process and the bill will likely undergo significant changes before it becomes law (if it does).

Now is the time to act:

(1) Review the proposal by visiting transportation.house.gov/airr-act/.

(2) Check arsa.org/legislative to see how the association can get you involved in the process.

(3) Join us in Washington for Legislative Day on March 16. Come tell your elected officials – face to face – how to best serve both the aviation community and the global flying public.

Contact the association directly if you have any questions.

9/29/15 - Time is Not on Our Side

September 29, 2015

Daniel B. Fisher, ARSA’s vice president of legislative affairs, issued the following statement in response to Congress’ extension of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The agency’s authorization, which was set to expire on Sept. 30, has been extended six months during which lawmakers hope to work out the “transformational” reauthorization package envisioned by congressional leaders.

“This extension does little to change the situation facing our nation’s aviation community. We can turn back the clock as often as Congress wants, but time will continue to run out. Until we have a responsible, long-term bill that adequately funds the FAA and guarantees the competitiveness of aviation companies, we’re all running out of time. Further delay is unacceptable and the men and women who work every day to ensure aviation safety deserve better than endless patches and punting that has characterized prior reauthorizations.”

Set your watch for the new deadline at arsa.org/faa-countdown.

9/24/15 - Congress Needs More Time as FAA Law Set to Expire

September 24, 2015

It’s déjà vu all over again with the current FAA law set to expire on Oct. 1 and Congress unable to finish work on a multiyear reauthorization. Twenty-three extensions were necessary to finally enact the FAA Modernization & Reform Act in 2012 and it was wishful thinking to expect an orderly process this time around.

Consequently, the House and Senate are poised to extend the FAA’s operational authority until March 31, 2016. The extension isn’t surprising; in recent weeks, aviation leaders in both chambers signaled at least six months would be needed to give lawmakers more time.

While lawmakers promised to complete a new FAA law in 2015, a packed agenda and a desire to enact a “transformational” bill proved to be too heavy a lift for Congress. Though no drafts have been produced, key facets of a potential reauthorization package have already riled controversy: Proposals to privatize the air traffic control (ATC) system have upset labor groups and general aviation interests while airlines and airports spar over a potential increase in passenger facility charges.

While eluding an agency shutdown is necessary, Congress must avoid a plethora of short-term extensions that prevent the FAA from planning and operating efficiently. It created the FAA and continues to place mandates on the agency and aviation companies; it must give the agency the resources and certainty to do its job.

Stay tuned to ARSA as the reauthorization process continues and use ARSAaction.org to weigh-in with your lawmakers about the need to balance aviation safety with your company’s operational freedom.

8/20/15 - Help Maintenance Prosper Through FAA Reauth

August 20, 2015

As the FAA’s current authorization bill (the FAA Modernization & Reform Act of 2012) nears its final 40 days, Congress will return from August recess with a mess of competing priorities. Help your lawmakers understand the importance of the FAA’s authorization and ensure they take action to bolster the health of the aviation maintenance industry.

During the last FAA reauthorization cycle, the aviation maintenance industry was forced to combat attempts to unnecessarily micromanage aviation businesses. While many of these proposals were held at bay, once a bad idea is introduced in Washington it never really goes away. Maintenance providers need a new FAA bill that balances safety with protecting operational freedom.

Visit ARSAaction.org today and tell your lawmakers to allow the aviation community to grow and prosper. Once your letters are sent – it only takes minutes – visit arsa.org/legislative to see the many ways you can get involved.

8/6/15 - FAA Extension Inevitable as Deadline Looms

August 6, 2015

Despite industry’s urging and congressional promises, the FAA’s current authorization (the FAA Modernization & Reform Act) is likely to receive an extension to give lawmakers more time to complete a new law as expiration looms on Oct. 1.

As it does with most larger federal agencies, every few years Congress must “reauthorize” the FAA.  Reauthorization grants the agency the legal authority to operate and the process also gives lawmakers the opportunity to set policy priorities and target funding levels (actual spending is determined in appropriations bills).

While these should be routine and completed on time, recent history demonstrates it is difficult for Congress to reach consensus on aviation policy issues, resulting in delays and sometimes even agency shutdowns.  In fact, the FAA Modernization & Reform Act was signed into law after five years after its predecessor (VISION-100) expired, one lapse in spending authority and partial furlough of agency employees and 23 short-term extensions.

While the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee (the congressional panels with jurisdiction over the FAA) conducted hearings, met with stakeholders and promised a timely process, reauthorization legislation has yet to be introduced with less than two months before expiration. Once revealed, smooth sailing isn’t guaranteed.  House T&I Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has promised a “transformational” bill, including major changes to air traffic control, which likely won’t make it an easy process.

All indications are the House will unveil its legislation in early September, but the Senate is operating on a much slower timetable, making an extension inevitable.  The question is not whether a continuation will be needed, but how long it will last.  Commerce, Science & Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) indicated an extension well into next year is likely to give congressional leaders the time to plan floor consideration.

While preferred over shutdowns, ARSA believes short-term extensions are inexcusable.  Congress had ample time to introduce, consider and enact a new reauthorization bill.  It created the FAA and it needs to provide the agency the certainty and resources to do its congressionally-mandated job.  Additionally, when lawmakers delay, industry is penalized.  Aviation maintenance companies rely on the agency for certifications and inspections.  Failing to provide the agency sufficient resources and timely authorizations results in administrative delays, undermining the industry’s competitiveness.

Be sure to keep your eye on the clock as we inch closer to the FAA Modernization & Reform Act’s expiration.

6/23/15 - Minutes to Midnight – ARSA Unveils FAA Countdown Clock

June 23, 2015

On June 23, ARSA unveiled its countdown to the FAA Modernization & Reform Act of 2012’s expiration. The current law, which expires at the end of Sept., has officially entered its final 100 days.

The association – in concert with a number of aviation industry allies – has been working for months to help Congress craft a reauthorization bill that will allow the FAA to support American aviation and provide world-class service on behalf of the flying public. Congressional leaders have been calling for a “transformational” overhaul of the agency and the time is drawing near for that inspiration to become reality.

“With 100 days until the FAA’s current authorization law expires, the aviation industry awaits congressional action,” said Daniel B. Fisher, ARSA’s vice president of legislative affairs. “While there have been encouraging signs of progress, failure to enact long-term, stable FAA reauthorization legislation will cost real jobs and undermine the competiveness of the U.S. aviation industry.”

House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) recently highlighted certification reform and a re-design of the air traffic control (ATC) system as his top priorities for reauthorization. While behind-the-scenes work has begun and battle lines have been drawn, the reality is that time is running out.

Considering the political situation, Fisher concluded: “It’s our shared responsibility to serve the flying public. If we expect the FAA to be the world’s preeminent aviation safety organization, Congress must give the agency the certainty it needs as soon as possible. If that clock strikes zero before the president’s signature is on a new FAA bill, we will have failed the pilots, crewmembers, controllers and mechanics that work every single day to keep the world safely in flight, not to mention the businesses and families depending on them. That’s simply not an option.”

See how much time is left, visit arsa.org/FAA-countdown.

6/15/15 - Shuster Outlines FAA Reauthorization Principles

June 15, 2015

On June 15, House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) outlined his top priorities for the upcoming reauthorization of the FAA.

With the current authorization law (the FAA Modernization & Reform Act) expiring on Oct. 1, House and Senate aviation policy leaders have been working toward drafting a new long-term bill setting the agency’s funding and policy priorities.

In his remarks, Shuster focused on certification reform and transforming the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.  As a member of the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Committee for the Consistency of Regulatory Interpretation (ARC 313), ARSA has been front and center urging regulatory consistency. Most recently, the association submitted a statement for the record to the T&I Committee in conjunction with a hearing on the topic.

Shuster’s outline proposed areas for certification reform, including permitting greater utilization of FAA’s current authority to delegate certain certification functions, streamlining certification processes and improving workforce training and development opportunities for FAA inspectors and engineers. He is also attempting to establish clear certification performance objectives and metrics by which Congress can better measure the agency’s progress.

Shuster also proposed separating the ATC system’s management from the FAA and creating a federally-chartered, fully-independent, not-for-profit corporation to operate and modernize the air traffic organization.  According to Shuster, the new entity would allow it to be “free from the volatile funding uncertainty, political meddling and bureaucratic inertia that have plagued the FAA and our ATC system in years past.”

While repair stations were not specifically mentioned, it doesn’t mean the aviation maintenance industry is free and clear. The association fully expects amendments hostile to contract maintenance and will be calling on the industry to engage lawmakers to ensure detrimental provisions are not adopted.

ARSA looks forward to working with the T&I Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee as the reauthorization process moves forward.

Click here to read Chairman Shuster’s June 15 prepared remarks.

Click here to read a summary of principles for the legislation being developed.

4/28/15 - Road to Reauthorization: Another Day, Another FAA Hearing

April 28, 2015

On April 28, the Senate Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee held its fourth hearing in a month as it prepares to draft the next FAA reauthorization bill.  The panel examined aviation safety and general aviation issues.

Hot topics included pilot training and rest and regional airline safety.  Witnesses were:

  • Margaret “Peggy” Gilligan, Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, Federal Aviation Administration
  • The Honorable Christopher Hart, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board
  • Faye Malarkey Black, Interim President, Regional Airline Association
  • Captain Chesley Sullenberger
  • Mark Baker, President and CEO, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video is available at 1.usa.gov/1EsKxzo.

4/21/15 - Senate Panel Examines FAA Certification Process

April 21, 2015

On April 21, the Senate Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee examined the FAA’s certification process and reforms that could improve American competitiveness in the global marketplace for aviation products and manufacturing.

Witnesses included:

  • Dorenda Baker, Director of Aircraft Certification Service, Federal Aviation Administration
  • Gerald Dillingham, Director of Civil Aviation Issues, Government Accountability Office
  • Pete Bunce, President, General Aviation Manufacturers Association

Witness testimony, opening statements and additional hearing information is available at 1.usa.gov/1CTsg79.

4/14/15 - Hearings with Huerta - Senate Kicks Off FAA Reauthorization

April 14, 2015

On April 14, the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee held the first in a series of hearings on FAA reauthorization legislation.

The panel heard testimony from FAA Administrator Michael Huerta regarding key aviation funding and programmatic issues.  Committee members also examined the integration of drones into U.S. airspace, air traffic control modernization, NextGen implementation, pilot training and regulatory interpretation inconsistency.

In his remarks, Huerta noted the unique and important position of the United States in the aviation world:

“To maintain our global leadership – and continue to reap the economic benefits of this industry – I believe we must use the upcoming reauthorization as an opportunity to provide the FAA with the tools necessary to meet the future needs of our industry stakeholders and the traveling public. Global leadership in aviation is an area that is of mutual concern to all of our stakeholders, this Committee and the Administration.”

For complete hearing information, including a link to Huerta’s complete testimony, click here.

For its part, the association regularly reminds lawmakers to provide the FAA with the resources needed to do its job. With the FAA Modernization & Reform Act, the agency’s current authorization law, runs through Sept. 30 . Stay tuned to ARSA as the reauthorization process heats up.

To learn how you can get help pursue the “transformational” reauthorization lawmakers have described, visit arsa.org/legislative/get-involved.

3/3/15 - Huerta to Aviation Subcommittee - U.S. Can't Afford 'Business as Usual'

March 3, 2015

On March 3, 2015, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta testified before the House Aviation Subcommittee at a hearing entitled “Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization: Enabling a 21st Century Aviation System.”

“We can’t afford a ‘business as usual’ approach, especially if we want to maintain US global influence,” Huerta said. “We need reauthorization to allow the FAA to better align our resources with the needs of the NAS [National Airspace System] by providing the FAA greater flexibility to modify our service levels to support changing industry demand, and by establishing a collaborative, transparent and binding process to modernize FAA’s facilities and equipment and match our footprint to the demand for air travel.”

For Huerta’s written statement, click here.

For Shuster and Lobiondo’s opening remarks, and other subcommittee information, click here.

Watch the full hearing:

1/21/15 - ARSA Submits Statement to T&I Committee Hearing

On Jan. 21, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on “Reforming and Streamlining the FAA’s Regulatory Certification Processes.”

The association submitted a statement to the record. In that submission, Vice President of Legislative Affairs Daniel Fisher noted: “ARSA members are routinely plagued by the FAA’s inconsistent application of its regulations; the lack of consistency threatens aviation safety, economic growth and job creation. The lack of regulatory standardization particularly impairs small businesses, which are predominant in the civil aviation industry.”

Watch the full hearing:

The Witnesses:

Panel I

  • Mr. Ray Conner, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, The Boeing Company
  • Mr. Aaron Hilkemann, President and CEO, Duncan Aviation

Panel II

  • The Honorable Chris Hart, Acting Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board
  • Ms. Dorenda Baker, Director, Aircraft Certification Service, Federal Aviation Administration
  • Dr. Gerald Dillingham, Director of Civil Aviation Issues, Government Accountability Office

More information about the hearing, including testimony and additional background information will be posted here as it becomes available.

11/25/14 - Congressional Hearing on FAA Reauthorization: Issues in Modernizing and Operating the Nation’s Airspace

November 25, 2014

On Tuesday, Nov. 18, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a full committee meeting, titled “FAA Reauthorization: Issues in Modernizing and Operating the Nation’s Airspace,” focused on preparing the next reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the modernization and operation of the U.S. airspace.

The witness list included The Honorable Calvin Scovel, III, Inspector General, Department of Transportation; Mr. Nicholas Calio, President and CEO, Airlines for America; Mr. Mark Baker, President and CEO, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Captain Lee Moak, President, Air Line Pilots Association; The Honorable John Engler, President, Business Roundtable and Mr. Paul Rinaldi, President, National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

After hearing from these various portions of the U.S. aviation industry, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), committee chairman, promised an open integration process. “It’s not going to be [Incoming Ranking Member Rep.]Peter DeFazio [D-Ore.] and I saying this is what we’re going to do,” Shuster said.

The current FAA law expires at the end of Sept. 2015 – a date still ten months away.  ARSA commends the committee for calling attention to the process early and will engage with lawmakers on the issues that matter to the aviation maintenance industry.

View a streaming of the entire session below.

9/18/14 - Hopes for FAA Reauthorization Flying High

September  18, 2014

On Sept. 16, policymakers, industry groups, airline representatives and aviation business partners gathered at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to explore “the future of flight” at the Hill’s Aviation Policy Summit. The full day of panels and speakers included many ARSA allies and customers as well as industry analysts, business leaders and lawmakers.

The summit embraced a broad range of topics, but certain threads spooled through every discussion. Specifically, the aviation world is looking ahead to the work of renewing the law governing its main American regulatory body – all have a stake in the process. “There are over a hundred industry groups with interest in FAA reauthorization,” said Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association.

During his keynote address, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) noted the 23 extensions required when FAA policy was last set in 2012 and expressed “the last thing we want is another reauthorization like we had last time.” In general, the assembly was hopeful that such measures will not be necessary; the overall tone is positive as the 1-year countdown to the expiration of the current FAA Modernization and Reform Act begins Oct. 1.

“The next FAA reauthorization … should be transformational,” said Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “We need to lay the ground work for the future of U.S. aviation.”

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) Discusses FAA Re-authorization at 2014 Aviation Policy Summit

Much of this confidence stems from the summer’s passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which enjoyed overwhelming support in both chambers after months of legwork, listening sessions with interested parties and careful bipartisan negotiation. “We started very early [on WRRDA],” Shuster said, “reaching out to stakeholders, trying to listen to their concerns and their problems and their ideas.” Many are optimistic the blueprint will prove as effective for airways as it was for ports.

The key substantive issues highlighted by Chairman Shuster – delegation authority, regulatory burden, regulatory interpretation consistency – should sound very familiar to ARSA members. Reauthorization will be a top legislative priority for the association in the next year and should be on your radar from now until the day the president signs the new law.

Weren’t able to make the summit? You can experience it online at: http://thehill.com/217845-aviation-policy-summit-the-future-of-flight.

For more information on ARSA’s legislative program, including how your company can get involved, visit: http://arsa.org/legislative.

It’s a long time until next October. Stay tuned.



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