Lift the Ban!
Permit the FAA to certificate new foreign repair stations
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) inability to certificate new foreign repair stations is preventing U.S. companies from accessing international markets and stifling job creation in the United States, an ARSA analysis has found.
The FAA’s inability to issue new part 145 foreign repair station certificates is actually Congress’ fault. It is the perfect of example of the detrimental impact that bad legislation can have on our industry. Congress must permit the FAA to once again certificate new foreign repair stations.
In 2003, Congress enacted VISION 100, which contained a provision requiring the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to issue repair station security rules by August 2004 and to audit foreign for compliance with the regulations within 18-months. The agency failed to meet its deadline.
In 2007, lawmakers approved the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act. The legislation again mandated TSA to finalize repair station security rules. Only this time, Congress demanded that the regulations be completed by August 3, 2008, or else it would prohibit the FAA from issuing new foreign repair station certifications after that date.
The TSA missed the deadline and the ban took effect.
The ban represents an unprecedented move by Congress to prohibit one federal agency (FAA) from performing its responsibilities because of the inaction of another (TSA). This moratorium has prevented the FAA from issuing certification to new foreign repair stations, killing business growth and seriously undermining the profitability and viability of American aerospace companies. Essentially, Congress is punishing the aviation maintenance industry for the inaction of a federal agency.
On November 16, 2009, TSA released draft security rules. Repair stations and other interested parties had until Feb. 19, 2010 to submit comments regarding the rules impact. However, since issuing its proposed rules, the agency has taken no action to indicate any further progress on the regulations.
Lift the Ban!
It has now been more than three years since Congress prohibited the FAA from certificating new foreign repair stations due to the TSA’s inaction. It has been more than eight years since Congress commanded the agency to address repair station security.
Unfortunately, a final repair station security rule is unlikely to be finalized in the near future.
After hearing countless complaints from ARSA members about how the ban was negatively impacting their businesses, the Association launched a campaign to persuade Congress to lift the prohibition preventing the FAA from issuing new foreign repair station certificates. In October 2011, ARSA conducted an informal survey to get a snapshot of the ban’s impact on the aviation maintenance industry. ARSA found that:
- The ban is hurting small to medium-sized businesses. Half (50 percent) of respondent companies employ fewer than 500 workers. Of these, an overwhelming majority (83 percent) are seeking to open new foreign repair stations.
- The ban is preventing U.S. companies from expanding internationally. Three quarters of respondents (75 percent) said their company has an application for FAA foreign repair station certification pending or will submit an application when the moratorium is removed.
- The ban is costing U.S. companies millions of dollars in lost revenue. U.S.-based companies responding to the survey report they are losing more than $18 million in combined revenues annually because of they cannot get new facilities certificated.
- The ban is stifling job growth. More than half of respondents (55 percent) said their companies would hire new U.S.-based employees if they could obtain FAA foreign repair station certification. Two companies anticipated hiring more than 100 new U.S.-based employees to support the foreign certificates.
“The survey results are a snapshot of what’s happening in the real world outside the Beltway: The ban is costing the U.S. economy jobs and making it harder for American companies to compete internationally,” ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod said. “By imposing this ban, Congress has taken the unprecedented step of punishing industry and preventing the FAA from doing its job because TSA has ignored Congressional mandates. That’s bad policy and a terrible precedent.”
In addition to the harmful impact experienced by U.S. aerospace companies, the ban is also eroding U.S. leadership in aviation services. The prohibition has essentially made the FAA a non-player in the rapidly expanding global aviation aftermarket industry for the past three years. This is causing serious harm to the FAA’s “gold standard” of certification and permitting other national aviation authorities the opportunity to fill the void.
ARSA is actively working on Capitol Hill to overturn this prohibition on American business and ingenuity.
ARSA’s “Lift the Ban!” campaign action
House penalizes DHS for TSA’s inaction (6/13/12)
TSA Content with Certification Ban (1/11/12)
TSA in No Hurry on Security Rule (12/22/11)
ARSA Urges TSA on Security Rules (11/23/11)