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FAA Releases ICA Order

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released its long-awaited Order on Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (Order 8110.54).

Unfortunately, the Order fails to adopt many of the proposals in the Joint Industry Policy developed by the ARSA ICA Committee, the multinational members of which included a major air carrier, repair stations and manufacturers.

Consequently, the FAA squandered the opportunity to provide greater clarity and fairness in its ICA enforcement policies.

Some policy improvements

The Order does demonstrate some improvements in FAA policy. In accordance with the Joint Industry Policy’s recommendations, Component Maintenance Manuals (CMMs) must include a minimum of data and information to meet ICA regulatory requirements.

However, the Order specifies that only CMMs referenced in ICAs must themselves be treated as ICA and made available per the applicable airworthiness regulations. The Order also allows simple “remove and replace” instructions in product level ICAs in lieu of making CMMs available.

The Order also fails to adopt policies that would rectify the regime that currently limits the availability of ICAs for members of the aviation maintenance industry. The Joint Industry Policy proposed that ICAs be made available to maintenance providers at a fair and reasonable price, determined by the objective measurement of costs associated with the development, preparation and distribution of the ICA beyond that required for initial certification.

The Policy adopted standards that would prevent design approval holders from abusing the ICA regulations through the creation of unfair, anti-competitive restrictions and through the removal of essential airworthiness information under the aegis of source-approved repairs.

Fails to address reality

The FAA’s treatment of the “make available” requirement, however, simply relies on prior, ineffective FAA policy. The Order fails to address anti-competitive and unfair manipulation of the ICA regulations by design approval holders. The FAA merely sets out the criteria under which a party that does not own the product is entitled to the ICA. These formulaic and restrictive criteria fail to address the realities of the maintenance industry. Instead, they ensure that maintenance providers will continue to face staunch resistance in their efforts to obtain the required ICAs.

ARSA and members of its ICA Committee are disappointed that the FAA did not seize the opportunity to address the inequities under the current ICA enforcement regime. The Association will continue to work with the FAA and policymakers outside the agency to create a more equitable enforcement policy that reflects the important safety and fairness issues implicated by the ICA regulations.

Background documents on the ICA issue are available at this link.



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