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Legislative Issues

ARSA is the aviation maintenance industry’s eyes, ears and voice in the halls of Congress. The association’s legislative efforts complement our regulatory expertise as our team tirelessly fights for your interests on Capitol Hill.

Our top priority is ensuring that aviation policy is based on facts, not fear.  New laws and regulations should be designed to genuinely improve safety, not micromanage or undermine industry competitiveness.  The association’s legislative team ensures that members of Congress understand the consequences of their actions and keeps you informed about what is happening in Washington. We do this by:

  • Engaging lawmakers in our nation’s capital and their home states;
  • Encouraging grassroots action and involvement by ARSA members;
  • Raising the legislative and regulatory profile of the aviation maintenance industry;
  • Offering technical and legal expertise to analyze and respond to government actions; and
  • Promoting the industry’s benefits and safety record among key audiences.

Legislative Priorities: 115th Congress, First Session

Refrain from Imposing Unnecessary Regulatory Mandates:
The biggest long-term threat to the aviation maintenance sector is government intrusion through overregulation. The basic nature of the aviation industry demands that safety and security are paramount. Operators and airlines will not do business with companies that put passengers and valuable business assets (i.e., aircraft) at risk. Put simply: good safety is good business. Congress and the FAA must understand that government and the industry share the same safety goals and refrain from micromanaging through unnecessary agency action. 

Reform the Regulatory Process:
When done well, regulations help mitigate risk, hold businesses to high standards and promote best practices.  ARSA has a long history of engaging constructively with the FAA and other regulators in the United States and internationally to help them better understand the maintenance industry, craft good regulations and improve oversight.   But regulation isn’t always done well.  Regulators often fail to take into account competing mandates from within and with other agencies.  They are slow to respond to economic and technological changes.  There is little retrospective analysis to see whether rules have accomplished their objectives.  Thus, long-term consequences of new regulations and the cumulative impact of all regulations can choke an industry.  ARSA supports legislation, including the Regulatory Accountability Act, the REINS Act, and other legislation that will improve the rulemaking process and oversight.

Encourage Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASAs):
BASAs are government-to-government agreements that reduce regulatory compliance costs for businesses by allowing cooperation between aviation safety regulators to enhance efficiencies and prevent duplicative oversight.  According to a recent ARSA study, American repair stations pay a 300 percent mark-up when applying for certification by “foreign” civil aviation authorities (CAAs) when the home country does not have a BASA with the United States. This additional cost burden impairs U.S. repair stations’ profitability, particularly for smaller companies. To reduce compliance costs for business and oversight costs for government, Congress should encourage the FAA to enter into more BASAs and refrain from enacting legislation that disrupts current international aviation accords.

Give the FAA the Resources to Do its Job:
Aviation maintenance companies rely on the FAA for congressionally-mandated certifications and inspections. Failing to provide the agency sufficient resources results in administrative delays, ultimately undermining the U.S. aviation industry’s competitiveness. ARSA urges Congress to fully fund the FAA to prevent aviation maintenance companies from being detrimentally impacted by inadequate agency resources and government shutdowns.

Invest in a Skilled and Dynamic Aviation Workforce:
The aviation maintenance sector is growing and hiring. Unfortunately, the industry faces a shortage of qualified technical workers. Congress must channel resources to train a new generation of skilled workers. It can begin by sharpening the focus of career and technical education programs through the Carl D. Perkins Act and Higher Education Act. By modernizing these laws, Washington can create new opportunities for collaboration between employers, government agencies and educational institutions to build programs that align with business needs while reinforcing the importance of applied skills. 

Restore Tax Code Certainty and Simplification:
The U.S. aviation maintenance industry is dominated by small to medium-sized businesses.  These companies are overburdened by a complex and inefficient tax code. Congress should pursue tax reform that simultaneously benefits corporations and pass-through entities and ensure the tax code incentivizes capital investment and business risk-taking. Congress should also permanently repeal the estate tax. ARSA’s family-owned member companies are forced to incur significant estate planning and insurance costs, wasting resources that should be invested in their businesses. Finally, ARSA urges Congress to carefully consider the potentially disruptive impact of a proposed border adjustment tax on international trade in aviation maintenance services, in which the United States has a positive balance of trade and is a global leader.