ARSA RSS Feed ARSA LinkedIn
Contact Us Online Portal

ARSA Highlights Threats from Anti-Repair Station Bill

On Dec. 5, ARSA hosted a webinar to encourage industry action in opposition to an anti-contract maintenance bill rushed through the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee on Nov. 20.

Click the image to stream the webinar recording.

To stream a recording of the webinar, click here.

To download a PDF copy of the presentation, click here.

The bill could be considered by the full House before the end of the year, demanding immediate attention from the repair station community as well as suppliers, customers and business partners. 

Among other things, the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act (H.R. 5119) would:

  • Impose burdensome new maintenance-related reporting requirements on air carriers.
  • Ban the FAA from issuing or renewing repair station certificates in countries designated as Category 2 under the International Aviation Safety Assessment Program (and ban U.S. air carriers from using maintenance contractors in those countries).
  • Require the FAA to directly certificate workers at foreign repair stations.
  • Impose a moratorium on the issuance of new FAA repair station certificates outside the United States if the agency does not complete all the tasks directed by the bill and pending foreign repair station-related rulemakings within one year of the bill’s enactment (a laundry list so long the FAA will never meet the deadline).

House T&I Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the bill on Nov. 15 and brought it up for a committee vote just five days later. No hearings were ever held to discuss the bill or committee concerns about repair station oversight. Given the “no huddle offense” strategy that Chairman DeFazio and his airline mechanic union allies employed to get the bill through committee, there’s a strong possibility they could try to get it to the House floor for a vote before the end of the year. Given that all T&I Committee Democrats and seven Republicans voted in favor, if it were taken up by the House today, it would likely pass.

If the bill becomes law, U.S. repair stations with foreign approvals and their employees would almost certainly be targets of the retaliation by foreign authorities. U.S. commercial and general aviation operations outside the country would be disrupted because of a shortage – or complete lack of – FAA certificated maintenance facilities in destination countries. And U.S. manufacturers seeking to provide product support in growing foreign markets would be prevented from obtaining FAA certification at those overseas facilities.

ARSA is leading a coalition of industry organizations and companies to oppose the bill. In addition to meeting with congressional offices to voice concerns and coordinating a letter in advance of the committee vote, ARSA has developed additional materials (see the remainder of this page’s content) to support our members’ and allies’ advocacy. With the specter of a House vote looming, time is of the essence. Your personal engagement is critical to stop H.R. 5119 from becoming law.

More information about the bill and what you can to do prevent it from becoming law is available on this page (scroll down)

Previous updates on H.R. 5119...

11/20/19 - Repair Station Bill Is 'Policymaking at Its Worst'

November 20, 2019

ARSA Vice President Christian A. Klein issued the following statement in response to the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee’s Nov. 20 passage of the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act (H.R. 5119), a bill introduced on Nov. 15 by T&I Chairman Peter DeFazio.  On Nov. 16, a coalition of eleven leading aviation associations led by ARSA sent a letter to House T&I members opposing the bill. More information about the legislation and economic and regulatory issues related to contract aviation maintenance can be found on this page (review materials and updates provided below.

Chairman DeFazio’s repair station bill is policymaking at its worst.  Aviation laws and regulations must be based on facts with safety as the overarching goal.  In stark contrast, H.R. 5119 is a political bill that will disrupt international travel.  Its surprise unveiling and rapid passage through the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee tell the whole story: It was introduced late last week and passed in five days without any hearings or opportunity for industry to comment.

The legislation will disrupt U.S. air carrier and general aviation operations, undermine global aviation regulatory cooperation, add to the burden of regulators without providing new resources, subject U.S. aviation maintenance companies and their employees to foreign retaliation and make it more difficult for U.S. manufacturers and repair stations to service a global customer base.

No huddle offense may win football games, but it’s a loser when making policy, particularly in a heavily regulated sector like aviation safety.

 


H.R. 5119 Bill Tracker

Click here for complete updates from Congress.gov.

    House   Senate
Introduced   11/15/2019  
Committee Markup   11/20/2019  
Committee Vote   11/20/2019 – Passed 39-19  
Full Chamber Vote    
Conference Vote    
Presidential Signature    

Complete Issue Coverage

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), a long-time contract maintenance critic, introduced legislation Nov. 15 targeting repair stations and the commercial and general aviation operators who work with them. The committee passed the bill on Nov. 20 on a 39-19 vote.

DeFazio’s Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act (H.R. 5119) would cause major disruptions for maintainers outside the country, U.S. air carriers operating globally and American manufacturers seeking to provide product support in growing foreign markets. U.S. repair stations and their employees would also almost certainly be subject to retaliation from foreign authorities, which would jeopardize the certificates those companies hold and make it impossible to serve international customers.

If the FAA fails to complete a large (and virtually impossible) laundry list of tasks within one year of the bill’s enactment, the agency would be barred for certificating new facilities outside the United States. The bill also includes an immediate moratorium on the certification, recertification and use by U.S. air carriers of repair stations in Malaysia, Thailand, Costa Rica, Ghana, Bangladesh and Curacao.

In addition to DeFazio, the union-backed bill, which is being considered by the House T&I Committee on Nov. 20, has more than 10 cosponsors.

ARSA is leading a coalition of aviation organizations against H.R. 5119. On Nov. 18, the association delivered a letter to T&I Committee leadership expressing the coalition’s strong opposition to DeFazio’s bill. The letter was also signed by:

Aerospace Industries Association
Aircraft Electronics Association
Airlines for America
Aviation Suppliers Association
Cargo Airline Association
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
International Air Transport Association
Modification and Replacement Parts Association
National Air Carrier Association
Regional Airline Association

ARSA is also coordinating meetings for the coalition with T&I Committee member offices and providing economic data, regulatory analyses and other materials to support our members’ and allies’ advocacy. The association’s recently-released detailed “myths and facts” document dispelling labor’s arguments about contract maintenance has been distributed to congressional offices and should be a key resource for anyone discussing maintenance policy issues.

Among other things, H.R. 5119 includes:

  • A ban on certification, recertification and use by part 121 air carriers of repair stations in countries that the FAA has designated through the International Aviation Safety Assessment program as Category 2 (Costa Rica, Malaysia, Thailand, Ghana, Bangladesh and Curacao).
  • A requirement that the FAA conduct unannounced inspections of all foreign repair stations at least once annually.
  • Requirements that part 121 air carriers broadly disclose details about their contracted maintenance.
  • New certification requirements for individuals working at foreign repair stations that perform maintenance for part 121 air carriers (supervisory personnel, personnel authorized to approve for return to service and persons performing inspections).
  • A requirement that personnel who are directly in charge of work or who are responsible for authorizing for return to service be personally present when the work is performed or perform the work themselves.
  • A ban on the issuance of new foreign repair station certificates if the FAA does not complete the implementation of these new requirements as well as the previously directed drug and alcohol testing rulemaking for foreign repair station personnel AND a new rulemaking directed in this bill to require security assessments of foreign repair station employees.

The path forward for the legislation is uncertain. The mechanics unions opposed to contract maintenance are well organized and have strong allies in Chairman DeFazio, pro-labor Democrats and (generally, northeastern) Republicans. The bill is controversial and (as of today) not expected it to be considered by the full House in the immediate future. There has also been no word about a potential Senate companion bill – a sign that the legislation is unlikely to move quickly. However, the T&I Committee will almost certainly consider more comprehensive aviation legislation early next year to address certification issues identified during the 737 MAX investigations and this legislation could potentially be rolled into the bigger bill.


Get Involved

Personal engagement to prevent enactment of H.R. 5119 and protect business is critical. Here are some things you can do to help:

Finally, registration is open for the ARSA’s 2020 Annual Conference. Legislative Day has become an important part of the meeting and a vital opportunity to make the maintenance industry’s voice heard on Capitol Hill. The H.R. 5119 be front and center during our Hill meetings. Support the association’s advocacy for you by registering now for the at arsa.org/news-media/events/arsa-conference.

For more information about the DeFazio bill and to find out what else you can do to support the association’s advocacy, contact ARSA Executive Vice President Christian Klein at christian.klein@arsa.org.

Annual Conference



More from ARSA

ARSA Highlights Threats from Anti-Repair Station Bill

On Dec. 5, ARSA hosted a webinar to encourage industry action in opposition to an anti-contract maintenance bill rushed through the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee…Read More

ARSA’s Filler Reports on Global Issues at EASA EM.TEC

On Dec. 5, ARSA Managing Director & General Counsel Marshall Filler represented the association at the EASA Engineering & Maintenance Technical Committee (EM.TEC) meeting in Cologne, Germany. The EM.TEC is…Read More

Hotline Highlight – ARSA Recognizes LAC’s Pull & Willing

The hotline – ARSA’s premier member newsletter – contains news, editorial content, analysis and resources for the aviation maintenance community. All members should ensure they receive their edition the first week of…Read More

Quick Question – Small Business Connections

ARSA is leading a coalition of industry organizations and companies to oppose the the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act (H.R. 5119). If the bill becomes law, U.S. repair stations with…Read More

ARSA Reviewing Its EASA Supplement

On Nov. 18, EASA published change 7 to the Maintenance Annex Guidance (MAG) associated with the bilateral aviation safety agreement (BASA) between the United States and the European Union (U.S.-EU).…Read More
ARSA