ARSA, A4A Collaborate on Regulatory Reform Suggestions

On May 19, ARSA joined Airlines for America (A4A) in submitting to the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) a list of rules the associations would like to see repealed, modified or replaced.

The submission was part of an ARAC task to support aviation regulatory reform. The committee must provide the FAA “recommendations on existing regulations that are good candidates” for some kind of alteration or elimination. Active ARAC participants were asked to assist this effort by submitting specific suggestions.

To perform this work, ARSA solicited input from its members (see below), utilized experience with rules and guidance that complicate members’ compliance efforts and collaborated with A4A on issues of consequence to air carriers. The combined submission highlights a wide range of areas where the existing rules impact job creation, impose unnecessary costs, create inconsistencies or are otherwise outdated, unnecessary or ineffective.

The committee will now incorporate all submissions into a unified document and prepare it to for FAA leadership as the “phase 1” report of the agency’s regulatory reform activity. The committee’s task supports the larger effort to satisfy the Trump administration’s government-wide effort to “enforce the regulatory reform agenda.” A Feb. 24 executive order called for establishment of agency-level task forces. As ARSA foresaw, the FAA is using the ARAC for this purpose.

As the process continues, stay tuned for more information and insight into ARAC’s final recommendations.

Previous Regulatory Reform Updates...

4/25/2017 - Help ARSA Help ARAC – Modify, Replace or Repeal Rules or Guidance

April 25, 2017

On April 20, the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) accepted an FAA task to support aviation regulatory reform. The committee must provide:

(1) Recommendations on existing regulations that are good candidates for repeal, replacement or modification; and
(2) Recommendations on actions identified in the FAA’s regulatory agenda.

The task is supporting the agency’s obligation to satisfy the Trump administration’s government-wide effort to “enforce the regulatory reform agenda.” A Feb. 24 executive order called for establishment of agency-level task forces. As ARSA foresaw (see below), the FAA is using the ARAC for this purpose. The committee’s membership represents a broad spectrum of regulated entities and public interest groups, which makes it the perfect forum to review the agency’s existing regulatory burden.

Through its active ARAC participation, ARSA is uniquely positioned to serve its members’ reform needs. Help the association by submitting regulations and significant guidance you believe should be repealed, modified or replaced.

[Updated] The deadline for recommendations was May 12; suggestions were submitted via online survey and compiled by ARSA for submission to ARAC (see above).

If you have questions or comments about regulatory reform or the association’s support for ARAC, click here to contact ARSA.

4/7/17 - White House Order Brings Some Form to Regulatory Reform

April 7, 2017

On Feb. 24, President Donald Trump issued an executive order providing general instruction for staffing and procedure to execute his policies for controlling regulatory burden.

The order directs the head of each agency to designate a regulatory reform officer (RRO) to oversee implementation of reform initiatives. Each RRO will chair a to-be-established regulatory reform task force to evaluate existing regulations for recommended repeal, replacement or modification.

In performing this assessment, each task force must seek out rules that, among other things, eliminate jobs, “impose costs that exceed benefits” or are “outdated, unnecessary or ineffective.” The boards are further instructed to “seek input and other assistance…from entities significantly affected by federal regulations, including…small businesses, consumers, non-governmental organizations and trade associations.”

ARSA is uniquely positioned to offer counsel on behalf of repair stations and eager to help thoroughly review existing regulations. Through service on the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) and other stakeholder bodies, the association can serve as the voice of the maintenance community to help the FAA comply with White House directive.

The executive order provides the first insight into logistics for the president’s regulatory reform initiatives. In a series of actions taken during his first week in office, Trump froze regulatory activity and made good on his “two for one” campaign promise – consistent but vague expressions of a sea change in oversight policy. As that reform begins to take real shape, a lingering question remains: What exactly is a “regulation”? More than a thought exercise for an ARSA training session, the White House’s Jan. 30 executive order left the issue open by use of an expansive definition:

“Sec. 4.  Definition.  For purposes of this order the term ‘regulation’ or ‘rule’ means an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret or prescribe law or policy or to describe the procedure or practice requirements of an agency, but does not include:

(a)  regulations issued with respect to a military, national security, or foreign affairs function of the United States;
(b)  regulations related to agency organization, management, or personnel; or
(c)  any other category of regulations exempted by the Director.”

For FAA certificate holders, the definition could apply to any agency rule or guidance – a great but expansive opportunity to review every statement produced by the agency in execution of its duties.

In the meantime, ARSA members should review both of the executive orders released so far that direct the regulatory reform process:

(1) Feb. 24, 2017, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”:
(2) Jan. 30, 2017, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”: (See story below for ARSA’s full coverage from January.)

1/31/17 - White House Outlines Federal Regulatory Policies and Hiring Freeze

January 31, 2017

In a series of presidential actions between Jan. 23 and 30, the White House outlined instructions to federal agencies for overhauling standards for regulatory activity and freezing federal hiring. As part of a flurry of action during President Trump’s first 10 days in office, the documents provide insight into the administration’s policy plans but leave questions as to implementation details.

Regulatory Freeze Pending Review

The memo on freezing regulatory activity, from White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, describes six steps by which executive agencies shall cease regulatory activities. In general, no new regulation may be submitted to the Federal Register until it has been reviewed by one of President Trump’s appointees or designees. Anything sent to the Federal Register but not yet published should be immediately withdrawn and regulations published but not completed shall be delayed pending review.

The memo grants the director or acting director of the Office of Management and Budget authority to provide exceptions for “emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial, or national security matters, or otherwise.” Just what constitutes such conditions is not defined, but agencies may submit requests for consideration to OMB.

In the context of the memo, “regulation” is broadly defined to include any regulatory action or guidance document as indicated under previous executive order. After review, should agency heads determine that any action raises “substantial questions of law or policy” they must submit it to the OMB director for review.

The entire memo can be accessed on the White House website at:

Reducing Regulations and Controlling Regulatory Costs

The executive order issued Jan. 30 aims to manage costs associated with the governmental imposition of private expenditures to comply with Federal regulations.  It requires that in 2017, “whenever an executive department or agency publicly proposes for comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed” and that total incremental cost of all new regulations and repealed regulations finalized this year shall be no greater than zero (unless required by law or allowed by OMB director).  Any new incremental costs must be offset by eliminating costs associated with existing regulations.

For future years, the head of each agency is directed to identify, for each regulation that increases incremental cost, the offsetting regulations and approximation of total costs or savings associated with new regulation or repeal.  It also requires regulations approved by OMB director during presidential budget process to be included in the Unified Regulatory Agenda; if it’s not in the agenda, an agency can’t issue a new rule unless approved by the OMB director.  Agencies will also be given an incremental cost budget as part of budget process and can’t exceed cost budget unless approved by OMB director.

The entire EO can be accessed on the White House website at:

Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze

The memo freezes all hiring for federal positions vacant as of Jan. 22 and prevents agencies from creating new vacancies or utilizing contract support to circumvent the intent of the policy. The memo applies to all federal agencies and departments, regardless of funding source, with the exception of active-duty military personnel.  Agency and department heads are also given leeway to exempt positions deemed necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities

During this initial restriction on hiring, the directors of OMB and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) have 90 days to submit a plan for long-term reduction of the size of the federal workforce. In the meantime, the president encouraged federal offices to use the freeze to make their operations leaner:

“In carrying out this memorandum, I ask that you seek efficient use of existing personnel and funds to improve public services and the delivery of these services. Accordingly, this memorandum does not prohibit making reallocations to meet the highest priority needs and to ensure that essential services are not interrupted and national security is not affected.”

As with the limitation on regulatory action, the director of OMB has been granted authority to make exceptions for federal hiring under special, unspecified circumstances.

The entire memo can be accessed on the White House website at:


While ARSA supports the effort to simplify regulatory requirements and streamline the federal government, such work must be done in consideration of existing governmental mandates placed on certificate holders. The association has long reminded Congress to give the FAA the resources it needs to do its job, which often means complying with statutory mandates. Any reduction in force or rulemaking overhaul should be done in consideration of the industry’s needs and avoid incursions into current operations, which often require active engagement by government agents.

While these memos represent clear first steps by President Trump’s administration, there is considerable detail yet to be determined. ARSA will continue to engage on behalf of its members. In the meantime, please keep us informed about how your company is being impacted by the recent administration moves.

ARSA Resources

For the opportunity to engage personally in this work, come to the nation’s capital in March for Legislative Day (click here for information and to register).

To learn – from your home or office – what’s at stake this year in Washington, register now for ARSA’s online training sessions on regulatory reform ( and what to expect from the president and new Congress (

Bookmark this page for updates on the regulatory reform process.

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