EC Threatens Repair Station Inspection Retaliation

 - July 15, 2009, 12:45 PM

Europeans are “blowing smoke” and “crying wolf,” said Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, during the debate about whether the Europeans would require EASA-certified U.S. repair stations to undergo inspections in response to the H.R. 915 FAA Reauthorization Act’s requirement for biannual inspection of all foreign Part 145 certificate holders. It appears Oberstar misjudged the situation as the European Commission (EC) is indeed threatening to require such inspections. H.R. 915 also requires individuals employed at foreign repair stations to be absorbed into the Department of Transportation’s drug and alcohol testing program. Both requirements are counter to the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement, according to the EC, which has stated that if the House bill becomes law, the safety agreement would cease to exist. “Section 303 of H.R. 915 isn’t about safety; it’s about union jobs,” Jason Dickstein, general counsel for the Aviation Suppliers Association, told AIN. “If the EC retaliates, the real losers will be U.S. companies because a lot of repair work comes from other countries under EASA certificates. The 1,233 EASA-certified repair stations in the U.S. will be required to pay EASA for all the costs of an audit. It would be financially devastating.”