TSA told to back off Part 135 and 91 aircraft

 - July 24, 2007, 11:16 AM

According to the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the house subcommittee on aviation, sent a letter to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) acting Administrator David Stone. The letter says that repair stations conducting work on aircraft operating under Parts 135 or 91 should not be subject to the same security requirements as those performing maintenance on Part 121 aircraft. The TSA’s announcement calling for costly, security enhancements for even the most remote business working on any part of an aircraft were met with industry-wide anger.

The letter, sent on June 29 at the request of NATA and the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), clarified the intent of Congress regarding a mandate for aircraft repair station security regulations that were contained within the Vision 100-Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act.

Section 611 of Vision 100 requires the TSA to issue regulations to strengthen the security of foreign and domestic repair stations. In the letter, chairmen Young and Mica wrote that Congress did not intend to have repair stations that work exclusively on Part 135 and Part 91 aircraft regulated in the same manner as those that perform maintenance on Part 121 aircraft. With thousands of these general aviation repair stations located at sites miles from any airport, Young and Mica argued that these stations “do not pose any direct threat to civil aviation.” Proposed regulations are still being formulated by the TSA.

“We are very pleased that Young and Mica recognize the unique nature of repair stations that work only on Part 135 and 91 aircraft,” said NATA president James Coyne. “Now that the precise intentions of Congress in crafting the legislation have been expressed, the TSA will be able to follow the mandate of strengthening security at aircraft repair stations without a one-size-fits-all approach.”