Aircraft Repair Station Security Program (Proposed)

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Associations Urge TSA to Complete Repair Station Security Rules by Year-End

August 27, 2012

NBAA, along with 10 other aviation associations, is asking Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano for confirmation that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will finalize requirements for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified foreign repair stations by the end of the year.

The aviation groups assert that a congressional mandate blocking the FAA from certificating additional foreign repair stations until the TSA issues security requirements for FAA-certified repair stations has inhibited the ability of the industry to support the growing number of business aircraft overseas.

At issue are not the rules themselves, but the tardiness of their imposition. In 2003, Congress told the TSA to create regulations by August 2004 that established security procedures to keep terrorists away from aircraft being tended to by repair stations. By 2007, when the TSA didn’t meet its deadline, Congress issued a new deadline of August 2008. As a consequence of missing the second deadline, Congress prohibited the FAA from issuing new certifications to foreign repair stations.

The TSA published the notice of proposed rulemaking for aircraft repair station security in November 2009. With no action apparently forthcoming, earlier this year the industry inquired, in writing, and the agency replied that it would complete the repair station security rulemaking in the “fourth quarter of calendar year 2012.”

With NBAA keeping close track of progress on this issue, the TSA has completed its work and forwarded the rules to the DHS and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for their required reviews. In their letter, the aviation groups wrote, “The undersigned associations want to underscore how important it is that DHS and OMB complete consideration in a manner that will permit the repair station security rule to be finalized in the timeframe provided by TSA.”

Only when the rule is finalized will the FAA again be able to issue new certifications to foreign repair stations. Until then, the ban will hobble U.S.-based companies competing in burgeoning overseas markets.

“The longer the prohibition is in effect, the more damage it will cause to the country’s competitive edge in aviation and exports,” the associations wrote. “It is imperative that TSA issue a final repair station security rule in the immediate future. We urge your Department to complete consideration of this long overdue rulemaking so that it may be considered by OMB and ultimately finalized by TSA by the end of the year.”