Twelve aviation associations have written a joint letter to Secretary Janet Napolitano urging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to meet its commitment and complete the rulemaking on repair station security by the fourth quarter.
“It is well past time for a regulatory framework for repair station security to be finalized. Congress first mandated action on this rule in 2003 and it has now turned into one of the longest, ongoing policy sagas in aviation,” said Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. “Delays in finalizing this rule are keeping aviation businesses from fully competing in emerging markets. Our government needs to get moving on this issue to further security and support economic growth in the industry. We need Secretary Napolitano’s unwavering assurance that this rule will be out this year.”
Congress established a requirement that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) establish a regulatory framework for repair station security in 2003. In 2007 Congress created a prohibition, beginning in 2008, against the FAA certification of foreign repair stations unless the rulemaking was completed. Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have included language in their respective FY2013 appropriations reports supporting final action on this rule by year-end.
The August 20 letter points out that the TSA stated that the repair station security rule would be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012. “Since that time, we understand that the TSA has completed its work on the rule and sent it to the DHS for review. The undersigned associations want to underscore how important it is that DHS and OMB [Office of Management and Budget] complete consideration in a manner that will permit the repair station security rule to be finalized in the time frame provided by TSA,” said the industry groups.
James Coyne, president and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association, told AIN in an exclusive interview, “There are only three things holding up the rulemaking process: politics, politics and politics. Union constituencies are opposed to this and talk it up as much as possible. This whole thing is disgraceful; this is an issue of circumventing the checks and balances of our government. Congress passed the law but the executive branch is dragging its feet pandering to their constituencies who oppose it. It could have been done in six months if they’d wanted to, but it’s been almost ten years.”
Daniel Fisher, vice president of legislative affairs for the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, warned of dire consequences for further delays, telling AIN, “As we once again approach an important deadline for finalizing the repair station security rules it is imperative that the TSA fully understand the consequences its inaction is having on the aviation maintenance industry. While the FAA is prohibited from certifying new foreign repair stations, U.S. aerospace companies of all sizes are paying the price. Punishing industry and preventing economic growth because of bureaucratic delay is unacceptable and must end.”
Signatories of the letter also include the Aerospace Industries Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Airlines for America, Cargo Airline Association, Helicopter Association International, National Air Carrier Association, NBAA, National Association of State Aviation Officials and the Regional Airline Association.