NPRM targets safety plans for repair stations

 - December 29, 2009, 10:03 AM

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to establish requirements for FAA-certified repair stations to adopt and implement a standard security program and to comply with TSA security directives.

The proposed rule would promulgate security requirements for maintenance and repair work conducted on aircraft and aircraft components at domestic and foreign repair stations.

It also requires FAA-certified repair stations to carry out a standard TSA security program to safeguard the security of the repair station, the work conducted and all aircraft and aircraft components at the station. The program will require stations to implement strict access controls, provide security awareness training and allow for TSA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspections.

Last month, DHS secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that the new rule will be finalized after 60 days of public comment and TSA response to those comments. She said the security agency will then move forward with the required audits that “to date have been conducted with the voluntary cooperation of many foreign partners.”

While the FAA has implemented extensive safety requirements for both foreign and domestic repair stations, supplementing those requirements with specific security measures would further reduce the likelihood that terrorists would be able to gain access to aircraft under repair at a repair station.

“Enhancement of repair station security will mitigate the potential threat that an aircraft could be used as a weapon or that an aircraft could be destroyed,” the NPRM says.

FAA-certified repair stations, whether located at airports that have a TSA security program, at general aviation airports or at off-airport properties, could be a target of terrorist activity and the TSA is proposing that each implement and carry out a standard security program issued by the TSA to mitigate that risk.

If the repair station is already incorporated within an airport’s security program and uses the airport’s access control measures, the TSA will consider the repair station to be in compliance with security measures proposed in the NPRM.

Comments are due January 19.