For the use of its members and the larger aviation community, ARSA is maintaining this page as a resource for virus-related updates on policy initiatives and business needs. Please bookmark this page, as the association’s team will use it as a central point of communication on the topic; information displayed here is current as of the posting date displayed above.
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Pandemic Relief Policy Efforts
Getting Access to Relief Funds
International Regulatory Resources Updated
Continuing Business Operations
CARES Act business relief resources
Seeking essential services exemption from state quarantines or stop work orders
Executive Order 13924 – Regulatory Relief To Support Economic Recovery
Congressional Oversight Commission Report – Questions About the CARES Act’s $500 Billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Funds
Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266)
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748)
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)
World Health Organization
International Civil Aviation Organization
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
European Union Aviation Safety Agency
Transport Canada Civil Aviation
National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil
Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom
Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority
U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. Department of Treasury
U.S. Small Business Administration
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
ARSA Updates & Actions
This section includes communications produced by ARSA and links directly to the relevant ARSA.org page. As issues have developed, new content has been included at the same location as previous, related updates so the entire series of actions can be reviewed at once. Click the title links to open more information.
Pandemic Relief Policy Efforts
ARSA Joins Multiple Efforts to Improve CARES Act
June 23, 2020
The association supports a number of informal coalitions to expand, protect or change certain elements of U.S. policy intended to provide business relief from the impacts of the current pandemic.
Presidential Order Directs Agency Focus on Relief
May 26, 2020
On May 19, President Trump signed Executive Order 13924, “Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery.” Describing the impact of the current pandemic on American businesses and workers – closures, furloughs and layoffs resulting in 36 million new unemployment claims made over the previous eight weeks – the president directed the U.S. government to rejuvenate the nation’s “economy as well as its health.”
ARSA Urges Congress to Expand Repair Station Access to COVID-19 Relief
May 11, 2020
In a statement submitted to leaders of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in conjunction with a May 6 hearing on COVID-19’s impact on the aviation industry, ARSA said that despite assistance for the maintenance industry provided by the CARES Act business conditions for repair stations remain dire and thousands of jobs are at risk.
More PPP Money From Congress, New Relief Guidance from Administration
April 23, 2020
Another round of coronavirus relief legislation is on the way to the president’s desk after clearing the House on April 23 and the Senate on April 21. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266) provides $321 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the CARES Act, as well $60 billion for small business economic disaster loans, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing.
Treasury Confirms Repair Station Eligibility for $3 Billion Grant Program
April 22, 2020
On April 20, the U.S. Treasury Department issued guidance confirming that repair stations are eligible for grants from the Air Carrier Worker Support (ACWS) program created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748).
ARSA Urges Treasury to Provide Maximum Benefits to Repair Stations
April 6, 2020
In an April 2 letter to U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, ARSA asked the administration to interpret the most recent pandemic response bill – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act – to ensure repair stations are able to benefit from relief provided to airline contractors.
Relief Bill is Good News for America’s 250K Aviation Maintenance Workers
March 27, 2020
On March 27, Congress officially responded to the aviation maintenance industry’s pleas for economic assistance in the face of pandemic-related air travel disruptions. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act passed this week by the Senate and House directs specific relief to repair stations and their employees.
Relief Bill Includes Repair Stations
March 26, 2020
On March 25, House, Senate and White House negotiators reached a deal on a massive coronavirus relief package. In addition to resources for healthcare workers and others on the front lines, the legislation contains provisions aimed at businesses. The initial draft includes specific relief for repair stations.
ARSA Proposes $11 billion+ MRO Industry Relief Package
March 17, 2020
ARSA has proposed a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry relief package to Congress and the president designed to ensure repair stations can continue to pay employees and to encourage airlines to continue to contract for maintenance during the downturn.
Getting Access to Relief Funds
Apply, Don’t Run Out of Cash – Tapping into Federal Relief
May 5, 2020 – Members Only; Published in the hotline newsletter
For aviation businesses too large for the PPP (500 or more employees or larger than the applicable SBA small business size standard) or otherwise not eligible (e.g., affiliation rules), there is aid money available from the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Reserve. There are restrictions and equity winds to navigate and some deadlines have passed (don’t despair); but financial resources for many outside the SBA universe are and will be accessible. To see Givray’s complete analysis, which builds off his original content published publicly on ARSA.org and utilizes the most-recent guidance regarding Treasury Department and Federal Reserve administration of relief programs, members should check out the April 2020 edition of the hotline.
Paying More Attention to the Fed’s Main Street Loans
April 15, 2020
The Fed’s Main Street Lending Program gives companies with up to 10,000 workers or revenues less than $2.5 billion reasons to borrow money from a $600 billion bucket.
On Paying Proper Attention to Title IV CARES ACT Monies
April 7, 2020
Al Givray, law partner at Davis Graham & Stubbs and general counsel to the NORDAM Group LLC, provides a four-step strategy for seeking cash under Title IV of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Givray is a useful contact for aviation businesses considering how to pursue relief.
International Regulatory Resources
From the FAA: Exemptions, Deviations and Other Virus Related Information
EASA Releases Virtual Classroom Guidance
August 25, 2020
On Aug. 18, EASA released guidance for allowing virtual classroom instruction and distance learning. The agency document is part of its Return to Normal Operations (RNO) work stream 1.
ICAO Establishing Information Portal
March 27, 2020
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Airworthiness Panel (AIRP) has established a repository for member states to upload relevant information on policies and procedures instituted to handle virus mitigation measures. Since many states are instituting alleviating measures to help deal with the pandemic and ICAO is considering the official end of the COVID-19 contingency period to be March 2021, a central manner of explaining each state’s measure was instituted.
DOT Resources on D&A Testing During Crisis
March 25, 2020
Following up on a March 24 update provided to industry by the FAA, ARSA queried the agency’s Drug Abatement Division regarding its posture on drug and alcohol testing regimens during the current national emergency and was given a prompt response to first refer to the Department of Transportation’s postings on the issues and then to reference the FAA’s own Q&A on any unanswered concerns.
FAA Updates Industry on Oversight Continuity
March 24, 2020
The FAA’s Aviation Safety organization updated the some 20 industry trade associations with the agency’s assurance that it is working to ensure continued operations with respect to certification, oversight, training and industry interfaces and deadlines during the next 90 or more days.
Continuing Business Operations
NEW TSA Addresses Security During Pandemic
August 12, 2020
The Transportation Security Administration’s Aviation Security Advisory Committee has released a white paper on the impact of the current global health emergency on the aviation insider risk landscape.
Grim Picture of Pandemic’s Impact on Aviation Maintenance
July 28, 2020
The aviation maintenance industry has been decimated by coronavirus-related economic disruptions, a survey by ARSA found. Information reported by respondents will direct the association’s advocacy to arrest revenue declines that have in turn led to significant job losses. If continued economic uncertainty remains unaddressed, the survey results suggest more layoffs are imminent.
FAA to Host Virtual GA Town Hall
June 10, 2020
On Thursday, June 18, the FAA will host a virtual General Aviation Town Hall. The event will be the second in the agency’s series of online discussions related to aviation industry pandemic impacts. It will follow the same general structure of the May 14 Aviation Safety Town Hall (see update below).
ARSA, ATEC Participate in Compliance Webinar Hosted by HAI (Recording Available)
May 15, 2020
ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod and VP of Operations Brett Levanto joined the Aviation Technician Education Council’s Crystal Maguire for a discussion hosted by Helicopter Association International: “Maintenance & Training Compliance During A Global Pandemic.”
Re-live the FAA’s Virtual Aviation Safety Town Hall
May 14, 2020
The two-hour session was kicked off by a recorded introduction by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and included two separate panel discussions addressing airline safety and crisis management.
ARSA, ATEC to Participate in Compliance Webinar Hosted by HAI
May 12, 2020
On May 14 at 4:00 p.m. EDT, ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod and VP of Operations Brett Levanto will join the Aviation Technician Education Council’s Crystal Maguire for a discussion hosted by Helicopter Association International. Registration is free and open to all.
FAA Guidance on Remote Connectivity
April 23, 2020
Both the Flight Standards and Aircraft Certification Services have now put remote connectivity usage information in writing. The bottom line is the rules allow for the use of such technologies.
Aviation Week Network Webinar – MRO Compliance During COVID-19
April 22, 2020
On April 22, ARSA VP of Operations Brett Levanto joined Carol Giles of the Giles Group, Gregg Brown of MRO Holdings and Aviation Week’s Sean Broderick and Lee Ann Shay to discuss efforts towards flexibility in regulatory oversight in response to the impacts of the current pandemic.
Assessing Pandemic Impacts on Maintenance Markets
April 14, 2020
Though the 2020 Global Fleet & MRO Market Report contemplates the impact of the novel coronavirus on the aviation industry, its analysis was performed well before the scope of the crisis became apparent (which as of this update it still might not have). ARSA is working with its partners at Oliver Wyman to produce new resources to appropriately capture the “new normal” in the industry for 2020 and beyond.
If You’ve Got a Phone, You’ve Got an Inspector
March 20, 2020
The White House has directed government agencies to “utilize the full extent of their legal authority and discretion to execute this realignment” and to “maximize telework … while maintaining mission-critical workforce needs.” For ARSA members in the United States, that means remote connectivity options for connecting with FAA personnel.
Repair Stations as Essential Services
March 20, 2020
Members and association contacts facing stop work or quarantine requirements imposed by state governments should utilize the following information in coordinating response to seek exemption under essential service requirements. When possible, engage with fellow aviation businesses or interest groups such as chambers of commerce and always review state law and business regulations
ARSA Discounts Online Training During COVID-19 Response
March 17, 2020
The ARSA team has been heartened by the growing list of businesses and service providers offering additional benefits to the public as the world responds to the spread of COVID-19. Since some of the association’s members have indicated that personnel development and training will be paramount during the period of upcoming business uncertainty, the team has issued a 50 percent discount on all price levels for ARSA online training sessions.
CARES Act Business Relief Resources
Note: The CARES Act is extremely complex and involves complicated legal, financial and tax issues. Read the legislation and guidance yourself and consult appropriate legal and accounting professionals before making the decision to apply for any of the assistance discussed below. ARSA-provided resources do not constitute legal, financial or tax advice.
Aviation businesses are potentially eligible for CARES Act relief from at least three different buckets. Which to tap into will depend on company size, FAA-certification, customers and business location.
Paycheck Protection Program
Since 80 percent of repair stations are small or medium sized entities, the first bucket can benefit most ARSA members. Title I of the Act (Secs. 1101 to 1114) includes a $349 billion forgivable “paycheck protection” loan program for companies with 500 or fewer employees or that meet the definition of small business based on their NAICS code.
The table below shows the NAICS codes most applicable to ARSA members and the related Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards effective Aug. 19, 2019. The full table is available here.
|Aviation Maintenance Related NAICS Codes and Small Business Size Standards|
|NAICS Code||General Description||Small Business Size Standard|
|336411||Aircraft Manufacturing, including “overhaul”||Fewer than 1,500 employees|
|336412||Aircraft Engine and Parts Manufacturing, including “overhaul”||Fewer than 1,500 employees|
|336413||Other Aircraft Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing||Fewer than 1,250 employees|
|488190||Other Support Activities for Air Transportation||Less than $35 million in annual revenues|
The maximum loan amount is the lesser of $10 million or average monthly payroll costs in 2019 multiplied by 2.5. The borrowed money can be used for:
- Payroll costs
- Group health insurance costs
- Employee salaries, commissions or similar compensation (up to $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee)
- Mortgage interest payments
- Utilities Interest on debts
Assuming the money is used for the covered purposes, the amount of the loan equal to eight weeks payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utility payments may be forgiven and the debt cancelled. The forgivable amount is reduced if the company lays off workers or cuts pay.
More information about the Paycheck Protection Program, including the application, is here.
Air Carrier Worker Support
The second bucket is direct financial assistance through the Air Carrier Worker Support (ACWS) program created by Title IV, Subtitle B of the Act (Secs. 4111 to 4120). Generally, the ACWS program provides $25 billion for assistance to airlines, $4 billion for cargo carriers and $3 billion for airline contractors. It was designed to provide relief to employees of airlines and companies that serve them.
ACWS money can be used only for the continued payment of employee wages, salaries and benefits and the money comes with more strings than the paycheck protection program. In addition to executive compensation limits, applicants must agree to:
- Use ACWS payments exclusively for the continuation of employee wages, salaries, and benefits
- Not conduct involuntary layoffs or furloughs, or reduce employee pay and benefits, until Sept. 30, 2020
- Not engage in stock buybacks or pay stock dividends through Sept. 30, 2021.
Due to the way the Act was drafted, it’s difficult to confirm which businesses qualify for relief. The definition of contractor is unclear – both what it says and doesn’t say. “Contractor” is defined at Sec. 4111(3) as:
(A) person that performs, under contract with a passenger air carrier conducting operations under part 121 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations –
(i) catering functions; or
(ii) functions on the property of an airport that are directly related to the air transportation of persons, property, or mail, including but not limited to the loading and unloading of property on aircraft; assistance to passengers under part 382 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations; security; airport ticking and check-in functions; ground handling of aircraft; or aircraft cleaning and sanitization functions and waste removal; or
(B) a subcontractor that performs such functions. (Emphasis added.)
While maintenance-related functions are not included, the list is in non-exclusive (“including not limited to”), meaning other types of service companies whose employees are intended to benefit from the relief should be included. Chief among these, of course, are FAA-certificated repair stations that perform maintenance under contract for airlines on airports.
It is hard to imagine a function more directly related to air transportation than maintenance, which ensures aircraft can fly! In other words, repair stations operating at airports and serving air carriers should qualify for relief based on the plain language of statute.
The term “subcontractor” in the section quoted above is equally confusing. The statutory language says that the subcontractor is to perform “such functions” but does not specify where those functions may be performed. The intent of the legislation is that companies serving the airline industry affected by the pandemic-related disruptions need resources to compensate employees. ARSA believes that the language in the Act should be broadly construed to ensure maximum benefit. meaning it should include off-airport subcontractors that play an essential role in keeping the aircraft flying.
On April 2, ARSA sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin urging the department to ensure funds may be used by any facility providing maintenance services as an on-aircraft contractor or subcontractor (regardless of location) as long work has been performed pursuant to an airline contract. The Treasury Department has not yet responded nor formally indicated whether it agrees with ARSA’s interpretation.
On April 6, the Treasury Department released a treasury loan application document that can be found here.
More information about this program from the Treasury Department, including application instructions is available here. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t answer the questions raised above about maintenance contractor and subcontractor eligibility.)
Economic Assistance and Stabilization Loans
A final bucket in the Act for repair stations (and other businesses) that don’t qualify for other assistance are loans through Title IV, Subtitle A of the Act. Sec. 4003(a), which makes $500 billion available. Of that amount, $25 billion is set aside in Sec. 4003(b)(1) specifically for FAA-certificated part 145 repair stations, airlines and ticket agents. An additional $17 billion is reserved for companies deemed critical to maintaining national security.
The strings and requirements include the borrower being an eligible business for which credit is not reasonably available; the loan must be sufficiently secured or is made at a rate that reflects the risk of the loan and not less than interest rates in effect prior to the coronavirus outbreak and it may not be longer than five years.
Borrowers are prohibited from engaging in stock buybacks and issuing dividends during the life of the loan and for 12 months after it is paid back. They must agree to executive compensation limits and maintain, until Sept. 30, 2020, employment levels as of March 24, 2020. The borrower must also be a U.S. business that has incurred or expected to incur losses that jeopardize business operations.
Sec. 4003 also creates a special loan program for companies (not just aviation related) with between 500 and 10,000 employees with a fixed interest rate of no more than two percent and deferred payments. These loans come with even more strings, including the requirement that borrowers promise to remain neutral in union organizing elections and not “outsource or offshore jobs” for the term of the loan and two years thereafter.
Most ARSA’s members and their employees can benefit from one of the programs discussed; if yours cannot, let us know about the roadblocks. Congress is starting discussions about the next round of pandemic bills, so please send your suggestions for other relief that would help the industry.
Essential services exemption from state quarantines
Note: Due to resource limitations, ARSA cannot actively engage each state’s government to ensure repair stations are exempted from stop work orders or quarantines. The information provided here is intended as a resource for companies seeking exemption from their state governments under essential service requirements. When possible, engage with fellow aviation businesses or interest groups such as chambers of commerce and ALWAYS review state law and business regulations.
Federal regulations require U.S.-registered aircraft and related components be maintained by FAA-approved “persons” (14 CFR § 43.3.); specifically, mechanics and repairmen certificated under 14 CFR part 65 and people working under their supervision, repair stations certificated under 14 CFR part 145, air carriers certificated under 14 CFR parts 121 and 135 and, in certain limited circumstances, pilots.
Repair stations provide the majority of maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alteration services in the United States for aircraft, airframes, aircraft engines, propellers, appliances, and component parts.
Forcing repair stations to cease operations will disrupt and prevent essential government functions (including emergency and police services and U.S. military aviation); commercial air carrier passenger and cargo operations; and general and business aviation operations, including humanitarian relief and essential health services.
In light of the foregoing, federally mandated FAA-certificated repair stations are essential businesses that must be excluded from emergency business closures.
U.S. Legislation & Relief Efforts
Note: Whenever legislation is referenced in this section, it represents a bill that impacts American businesses, has passed both the U.S. House and Senate and has been signed into law. It does not include House or Senate proposals or other developments that are “in the works.” Other references and government actions are provided as appropiate.
- Signed on May 19, 2020.
- Directs agencies to address economic emergency by rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements.
- Instructs agencies to identify and address regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery, particularly for small businesses.
- Prefers agencies to provide compliance assistance before pursuing enforcement on issues stemming from efforts to manage economic distress.
- Requires agencies to maintain fairness in administrative enforcement, notably by being prompt, fair and bearing the burden of proof.
- Released on May 18, 2020.
- First report of commission, focuses on monies available from Division A, Title IV, Subtitle A of the CARES Act (see below).
- Found Treasury had not disbursed any of the $46 billion intended for loans and loan guarantees to the airline industry and businesses critical to maintaining national security.
- Listed a series of questions for executive branch to consider in continuing to review programs and implement changes.
- Provides $321 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the CARES Act.
- Provides $60 billion for small business economic disaster loans.
- Provides $75 billion for hospitals.
- Provides $25 billion for coronavirus testing.
- Sets aside $25 billion for loans to repair stations, airlines and ticket agents.
- Creates $3 billion financial assistance program for airline contractors/subcontractors located at airports.
- Provides direct payments to individual Americans meeting certain income and dependent criteria.
- Provides forgivable loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees.
- Expands eligibility under the Family and Medical Leave Act for workers at companies with more than 500 employees for those sickened by coronavirus or taking care of a sick family member.
- Provides benefits for workers laid off because of the coronavirus.
- Requires employers with fewer than 500 workers to provide two weeks of coronavirus-related paid sick leave.
- Provides employers with refundable tax credits to offset costs associated with providing paid sick leave.
General Informational Resources
World Health Organization – Personal protection, medical research updates and international country/technical guidance.
International Civil Aviation Organization – Q&A for states, air transport operators and the general public
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Personal protection, local medical guidance and community information.
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration – Agency-specific updates and announcements.
European Union Aviation Safety Agency – European safety directives and resources.
(1) Guidelines: Return to service of aircraft from storage in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic (Published July 20)
Transport Canada Civil Aviation – Measures, updates, and guidance issued by TCCA.
National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil – Traveler and airline recommendations.
Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom – CAA preparations, industry advice and the rights of UK citizens around the world.
Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority – Exemptions, health information and advice for industry.
(1) Runway to Recovery – The United States Framework for Airlines and Airports to Mitigate the Public Health Risks of Coronavirus
(1) Paycheck Protection Loans – Forgivable loans for small businesses and companies with 500 or fewer employees
(2) Treasury Loan Application for Air Carriers and Certain Eligible Businesses
U.S. Small Business Administration – Pandemic-related disaster assistance for American companies.
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration – Guidance and resources for businesses and employees to prevent exposure and infection.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Resources for businesses and employees.