Every few years, Congress is supposed to enact legislation to set the FAA’s funding levels and policy priorities (known as “reauthorization”). This page provides an overview of the process and ARSA’s priorities for properly supporting the agency. For updates on the current reauthorization cycle, visit arsa.org/faa-reauthorization.
Why Reauthorization Matters
Long-term authorization bills are important to delivering certainty to the aviation industry. However, in order for that certainty to translate into success, it is critical for Congress to avoid micromanaging maintenance providers and for lawmakers to be mindful of negative unintended consequences.
Here in the United States, more than 3,800 maintenance firms employing 136,000 men and women generate $43.0B in economic activity across all 50 states. Eighty-eight percent of these American businesses have fewer than 50 employees. That’s 3,400 small businesses working in our communities every day as a part of this larger industry. In all, the maintenance and production of aviation parts and equipment accounts for nearly 300,000 jobs across the country.The importance of responsible FAA policy to facilitating this aviation maintenance market cannot be overstated.
To support this growing industry at home and around the world, American legislators must maintain a well-resourced national aviation agency; it is vital that the FAA is provided the tools to support a world-class airspace system and aviation marketplace.
ARSA’s Reauthorization Priorities
Refrain From Implementing Unnecessary Regulatory Mandates. The biggest long-term threat to the maintenance sector is government intrusion through over-regulation. The basic nature of the aviation industry demands that safety and security are paramount for participating companies. 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 industry through unnecessary agency action.
Reform the Regulatory Process. In the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), Congress mandated that regulators analyze and minimize the impact of rules on small businesses. Unfortunately, RFA requirements are often ignored. Lawmakers should improve the RFA to ensure agencies follow the law and are held accountable for ignoring its important mandates. Additionally, lawmakers must address unfair practices by regulators and ensure FAA-certificated entities are afforded proper due process protections.
Encourage Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASAs). BASAs are government-to-government arrangements that allow cooperation between aviation safety regulators to enhance efficiencies and prevent duplicative oversight. Specifically, bilateral agreements with comprehensive Maintenance Implementation Procedures (MIP) significantly reduce certification costs for repair stations. In fact, according to a recent ARSA study, American repair stations pay a 300 percent mark-up when applying for certification by “foreign” CAA’s 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. Congress must 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. The situation is further exasperated by government shutdowns. ARSA calls on Congress to fully fund the FAA to prevent aviation maintenance companies from being detrimentally impacted by inadequate agency resources and shutdowns.
Ensure a Skilled and Dynamic Aviation Workforce. The aviation maintenance sector is growing and hiring. Unfortunately, the industry faces a shortage of qualified, trained technical workers. Congress must channel resources to train a new generation of skilled workers. Federal laws should be updated to reflect current workforce needs and to allow greater flexibility for state and local entities, non-governmental organizations, community colleges and technical schools and industry to work together to address the skilled worker deficiency.
Stay informed on the reauthorization debate at arsa.org/faa-reauthorization-2018.