ARSA Rallies Members On Reauthorization

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The Aeronautical Repair Station Association has issued a call to members to get on the phone, fax machine and e-mail to press their congressional representatives for a change in the FAA reauthorization bill that could affect U.S. repair stations that work on European aircraft. According to ARSA, the bill "will severely damage the competitive balance enjoyed by domestic repair stations that work on European registered aircraft." The current version of the bill would require foreign repair stations that work on U.S. airplanes to submit to twice-a-year inspections by the FAA using FAA rules. ARSA says the European Union has already said that if the measure passes it will retaliate and that likely means an end to the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) that is now in force. "Under the BASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and individual E.U. member states conduct oversight inspections of FAA certificated facilities in Europe according to FAA guidelines and the FAA conducts oversight inspections of EASA certificated repair stations in the U.S. according to EASA guidelines," ARSA says. "The agreement was signed after years of assessments regarding the aviation safety requirements and capabilities of the aviation authorities in Europe and the effectiveness and proven performance of three individual agreements on repair stations that the U.S. currently has in place with France, Ireland, and Germany." If that deal collapses it means Europe will send inspectors to the U.S. to conduct its own inspections under European rules and the delays, paperwork and general nuisance will likely mean lost business on both sides of the pond. ARSA says a fix is simple.

The legislation requires a single line affirming that international agreements will be upheld. Adding that line will not affect the intent of the rule, which is to ensure proper oversight of foreign repair stations whose standards might not be up to FAA standards. More than 50 member of Congress have signed on to make the fix but that's far from a majority and ARSA says more need to be on board. It says the groundswell of support is needed by Wednesday to have an impact.