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Address Repair Restrictions at FTC Event

Click here to learn more about the FTC initiative.

On July 16, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission will host a meeting in Washington, D.C. called “Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions.” 

The purpose of the workshop, which is not aviation specific, is to examine ways manufacturers seek to limit third-party repairs in various industries.  ARSA has been working with interested industry partners to utilize the event as yet another opportunity to shed light on the challenges repair stations face when trying to obtain maintenance manuals and the FAA’s unwillingness to enforce the relevant regulations.

The association encourages interested members to attend and participate. Event organizers have provided little information but ARSA’s team has worked to gather basic security and access guidance. If you are interested in attending, use the member inquiry system via the secure online portal to provide a list of attendees from your company (first and last name, title, company name, city and state are required for security. 

Whether you can attend or not, take the follow steps to remain engaged with the effort:

(1) Review the meeting announcement for information about the event and what issues the FTC is exploring.

(2) Review ARSA’s submission to get a sense of how we’ve addressed the FTC’s question.

(3) Keep an eye out for other information about the event, which begins at 9:00 a.m. on July 16 and is open to the public. The event will be held at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St SW, Washington, D.C. 20024.

(4)  Submit comments to the FTC. The deadline is Sept. 16, but submission in advance of the July 16 meeting is encouraged. Comments submitted to the SBA Ombudsman using ARSA’s toolkit can easily be repurposed.

(5) For more information, review the update below.

Note: Though ARSA is actively facilitating aviation industry participation in the event, the association is not directly involved in administering, sponsoring or supporting the event in any official capacity.

ARSA's engagement with the FTC...

4/30/19 - ARSA Engages FTC on Maintenance Manual Availability

April 30, 2019

The FAA’s inconsistent enforcement of maintenance manual rules threatens competition in the aviation aftermarket, ARSA told the Federal Trade Commission in a letter submitted April 29.

ARSA’s submission was made in conjunction with the FTC’s Nixing the Fix initiative, the centerpiece of which is a July 16 meeting to examine ways in which manufacturers in various industries limit third-party repairs. Among other topics, the workshop will address issues that arise when a manufacturer restricts the ability of consumers or an independent repair shops to make product repairs.

ARSA told the FTC that the repair-restriction challenges faced by aviation repair stations are related to rules that require manufacturers to develop maintenance information and make it available. Specifically, the FAA fails to enforce the regulation requiring Design Approval Holders (DAHs) to develop basic maintenance information and thereafter make it available to maintenance providers (14 CFR § 21.50(b)), while aggressively enforcing the rule requiring repair stations to possess that same maintenance data (14 CFR § 145.109(d)).

ARSA’s comments were submitted in response to a call for empirical research and data about repair restrictions in advance of the July 16 meeting. ARSA’s letter provides an overview the maintenance manual regulatory framework, describes the challenges repair stations encounter when seeking maintenance data and cites various examples provided by ARSA members (redacted to remove any identifying information) in response to association surveys and to the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Ombudsman.

Although the deadline to submit pre-meeting data to the FTC has passed, the deadline for submitting comments on manufacturer aftermarket restrictions isn’t until Sept. 16. ARSA members concerned about the availability of maintenance data are encouraged to both submit comments and participate in the July 16 meeting to help shed light on DAH practices and encourage the FTC to address the issue. If you intend to do both or either, please let ARSA Executive Vice President Christian Klein know so the association can keep you informed of relevant developments.

In addition to supporting the FTC’s Nixing the Fix initiative, association and industry members should take action on other fronts:

(1) Follow ARSA’s lead and file a comment with the SBA Ombudsman. For information on the effort and access to an association-produced industry toolkit, visit:

(2) Utilize ARSA’s toolkit for requesting exemption from the “current” maintenance data requirement of § 145.109(d). For more information, visit:

To see ARSA’s letter in support of the “Nixing the Fix” initiative, click here.

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