NATA: Varied FAR Interpretations Pose Real Cost

 - August 26, 2008, 11:18 AM

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) said a survey it recently completed quantifies aircraft operators’ costs of inconsistent FAA regulatory interpretations. NATA conducted the survey in response to members’ reports of having experienced varying interpretations of FARs by the FAA’s nine regional offices, 10 aircraft certification offices and more than 80 flight standards district offices. According to NATA, respondents estimate that these varying interpretations of how to achieve or demonstrate compliance with the FARs cost general aviation businesses hundreds of millions of dollars annually when previously approved actions are subjected to “re-interpretation.” Fully 89 percent of respondents said their businesses have suffered due to inconsistent regulations and 81 percent indicated that lack of standardization is the result of the FAA’s reluctance to accept prior approval. Seven percent reported waiting at least 30 days to resolve a discrepancy with an FAA regional office; 20 percent, 30 to 60 days; 19 percent, 61 to 120 days; and 51 percent, 121 days or longer. NATA said financial losses for each of these cases range from $10,000 to more than $2 million in costs due to such items as delayed minimum equipment list approvals. NATA has asked Congress to request a GAO report to review the cost of inconsistent regulatory interpretations to the FAA and aviation industry.