ARSA RSS Feed ARSA LinkedIn
Contact Us Online Portal

Secretive FAA Extension Bill Targets Repair Stations

Editor’s Note: To see all of ARSA’s work to help Congress reauthorize the FAA, visit arsa.org/faa-reauthorization.

Late last week, House and Senate transportation leaders agreed to a bill reauthorizing the FAA through Sept. 30, 2017. The agency’s current authorization expires on July 15, making this a “must pass” extension. Unfortunately, lawmakers chose to attach policy riders that include several maintenance-related provisions, leaving the industry in a legislative bind.

Repair stations were not mentioned in a supplemental document released on July 6 detailing the bill’s key provisions, but House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee leadership elected – through secretive, backroom negotiations – to impose unnecessary, burdensome mandates on the international maintenance community and the FAA. The legislation is scheduled to be approved by the House and Senate without amendment before July 15.

Of specific concern to maintenance providers and their customers, the legislation includes:

(1) Foreign drug and alcohol testing.
The legislation reiterates a provision in the FAA Modernization & Reform Act (P.L. 112-95) requiring the FAA issue a proposed rule mandating all part 145 repair station employees responsible for safety sensitive maintenance functions on part 121 air carrier aircraft be subject to an alcohol and controlled substances testing program consistent with the laws of the country in which the repair station is located.  Unfortunately, the new bill includes arbitrary deadlines (requiring a notice of proposed rulemaking within 90 days of enactment and a final rule within a year) that will result in a hurried rulemaking with detrimental effects on the international aviation community, including the U.S. air carriers and the business and general aviation operators that benefit from the safe and efficient worldwide maintenance network.

(2) Mandatory pre-employment background checks.
The legislation mandates the FAA require pre-employment background investigations for all part 145 repair station employees performing safety-sensitive functions on an air carrier aircraft. This would significantly expand current Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements, lacks a safety and security justification, and is contrary to accepted risk-based oversight principles.

(3) Risk-Based Inspections.
The bill requires the FAA, in the context of its risk-based oversight of foreign repair stations, to focus on facilities performing scheduled heavy maintenance on part 121 air carrier aircraft and ensure the agency accounts for the frequency and seriousness of any corrective actions that part 121 air carriers must implement to aircraft following such work.

As business leaders and citizens, you should be appalled that lawmakers used clandestine discussions to negotiate controversial policy additions to a “must-pass” FAA extension without opportunity for amendment.  ARSA urges you to contact your representatives to express your dissatisfaction with the process and that Congress chose to impose new burdens on the aviation maintenance industry without any safety justification.

For more information contact ARSA’s Vice President of Legislative Affairs Daniel B. Fisher.



More from ARSA

Anti-Viral Measures

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…Read More

FAA Pandemic-related Exemptions & Deviations [Further Extensions to Air Carrier Training Requirement Exemptions]

To keep tabs on all of ARSA’s work related to the current pandemic, visit arsa.org/anti-viral-measures. To review FAA-provided resources via the agency’s website, go to www.faa.gov/coronavirus or the Central FSIMS…Read More

ARSA Remembers – Leo Weston

On Nov. 28, Leo Weston, whose passion for aviation began in high school, spanned the world and lasted until his final days, passed away at home in the presence of…Read More

Greasy Hands & Complex Problem Solving – 2020 Scholarship Winner C. Owen Ritzman

In November, ARSA awarded its 2020 scholarship to C. Owen Ritzman of Southern Utah University. Ritzman is an AMT student whose love of getting his hands dirty is matched only…Read More

Starting Young

The challenge of turning youthful energy into aviation career ambition demands early and constant contact with students. The best age to introduce a child to aviation and aerospace is “as…Read More
ARSA