ARSA Applauds Passage of FAA Reauthorization
Bill Will Allow for Continued Prosperity in Aviation Maintenance Industry
ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, Feb. 8, 2012 — The Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) congratulates lawmakers for finally passing long-term Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation. The House and Senate have approved the FAA Modernization & Reform Act (H.R.658) and President Obama is expected to sign the bill within days.
“Completion of the FAA bill is a significant victory for the aviation maintenance industry,” said ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod. “The legislation allows the industry to reliably deliver the highest quality of service in a manner consistent with its unwavering commitment to safety and security. ARSA is pleased that Congress has respected the delicate framework of international civil aviation oversight and passed a bill that will permit the industry to flourish.”
Congressional approval marks the end of the bill’s long and turbulent journey. It has been more than four years and 23 short-term extensions since the expiration of the nation’s last long-term FAA law. ARSA, and the entire aviation community, have been pushing lawmakers for a new FAA bill to provide the industry with stability.
The final reauthorization measure incorporates many legislative changes recommended by ARSA throughout the process, proving that hard, persistent work by ARSA and its members will reap benefits.
“This is a monumental achievement,” said ARSA Vice President Gary M. Fortner, vice president of quality control at Fortner Engineering. “The Association was able to work closely with lawmakers to hold back poorly thought-out proposals that would have restricted the ability of small independent repair stations to compete in the global marketplace. The outpouring of grassroots engagement to educate lawmakers about the importance of our industry was truly something to behold.”
The legislation, which authorizes $15.9 billion annually for the agency through 2015, strikes the right balance between safety, oversight, and operational freedom. Last Congress, repair stations were faced with FAA reauthorization legislation that would have required duplicative biannual inspections of all repairs stations and mandated drug and alcohol testing for overseas maintenance facilities without regard to laws of other nations, effectively forcing repair stations in countries that prohibit random testing to surrender their certificates.
The earlier versions of the bill would have added new layers of bureaucratic oversight and increased costs for repair stations and airlines with no improvement to safety. Most significantly, they would have destroyed the system of bilateral aviation safety agreements (BASAs) that allow U.S. aviation maintenance companies to compete internationally and threatened the United States’ $2.4 billion positive balance of trade in maintenance services.
“It is amazing how far we advanced during this process,” said ARSA Government Affairs Committee Chairman David Albert, vice president of government affairs for Chromalloy. “Two years ago, pending legislation would have destroyed the BASA between the United States and the European Union, mandated an onerous schedule of unnecessary and burdensome government inspections, and stifled growth. Facing such a challenge, ARSA and its members battled for the industry’s future. Today, that fight has paid off.”
“In a final analysis, the FAA reauthorization bill will protect the more than 274,000 Americans employed in civil aviation maintenance,” said MacLeod. “While the Association is glad to finish this round of FAA reauthorization, there is still much work to be done in educating all members of Congress about the maintenance industry’s important role keeping the flying public safe.”
To speak with a member of ARSA’s staff about the bill’s implications for the maintenance industry please contact ARSA Director of Communications Jason Langford, 703 739 9543.
ARSA is an Alexandria, Virginia-based trade association that represents aviation maintenance and manufacturing companies. Founded in 1984, the association has a distinguished record of advocating for repair stations, providing regulatory compliance assistance to the industry, and representing repair stations on Capitol Hill and in the media.
~~~ posted 2/8/12 ~~~