ARSA Balks at FAA Committee’s Repair Station Comments

 - January 27, 2011, 8:30 AM

The Aeronautical Repair Station Association is taking the FAA’s Future of Aviation Advisory Committee (FAAC) to task over comments made during committee discussions.

“Contrary to the subcommittee’s assertions, FAA-certified repair stations must adhere to the same standards regardless of location. To operate on U.S.-registered aircraft, all facilities must comply with FAA regulations and an FAA-certified provider must perform the work,” Sarah MacLeod, ARSA’s executive director, wrote in a letter to the committee.

Elsewhere in the letter MacLeod reminded the FAAC that it is not possible under current regulations to return an aircraft to service with work done by non-certified providers. “Steps to limit the use of appropriately certified repair stations would be disastrous for the aviation industry and the global economy by destroying an airline’s ability to secure repairs and service in a foreign country.

“Aviation maintenance provides good-paying jobs for American workers and is guided by the strongest principles of safety and security. While ARSA is disappointed to see the subcommittee rehash common misconceptions about the industry, ARSA hopes that the FAAC recognizes the integral role repair stations play in the international aviation system,” she said.

ARSA also took issue with the subcommittee’s recommendation for a uniform set of security standards. “A one-size-fits-all approach fails to take into account the industry’s vast diversity and ignores the tight security already self-imposed. The basic nature of the aviation industry demands that safety and security be the top priorities,” the letter stated.

The DOT created a broad-based advisory committee that did not include representation from ARSA, snubbing the association that represents maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities. The committee is composed primarily of representatives from the air carrier industry, unions, major corporations and academia.

“ARSA appreciates maintenance providers haven’t developed a big enough voice high enough up the political food chain to be made part of the advisory committee. Regardless, I wanted to be sure we set the record straight and provided information on misstatements made during deliberations by people who have the ear of politicians,” MacLeod said.

“We believe the $50 billion maintenance industry is a critical part of the aviation system and should be represented. We want to make certain that the next time the political powerhouses want advice we’re at the table,”she said.