The Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) recently sent a letter to the FAA’s Future of Aviation Advisory Committee (FAAC) taking it to task for misrepresentations regarding repair stations. “When the Department of Transportation formed the FAAC it brought together individuals from what it thinks of as the aviation powerhouses: the airlines, unions, some major corporations and a few academics. It is ARSA’s position that the $50 billion maintenance community that plays a major role in keeping the system running should be part of the interplay, but we weren’t invited to the table,” Sarah MacLeod, ARSA’s executive director, told AIN. “Repair stations are an integral part of the international aviation system. U.S. and foreign airlines, charter companies, general aviation operators and aircraft manufacturers around the world depend on maintenance facilities for everything from repairing aircraft to supporting supply chains,” MacLeod wrote in the letter.
One recurring issue addressed in the letter is the erroneous assertion that FAA-approved foreign repair stations aren’t held to the same standards and rules as U.S. repair stations and further controls and limitations must be exerted over them.
“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.”
MacLeod also reminded FAAC members 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,” she wrote.
ARSA also took strong 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.”
MacLeod said she understands that maintenance providers haven’t presented a “big enough voice, high enough up the political food chain” to be made part of the advisory committee.
“Having said that, 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. I also want to make certain that the next time the political powerhouses want advice we’re at the table.”