WASHINGTON – On June 11, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the United States Supreme Court. In doing so, ARSA provided background for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations requiring maintenance instruction availability, and pointed out that the FAA cannot ignore the plain language of those regulations. As a result, ARSA emphasized existing Supreme Court legal doctrine supporting Court intervention in the matter.
“The FAA does not have discretion in enforcing its own rules,” said ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod. “ARSA is simply pointing out that a federal agency must follow its regulations and the federal courts must ensure that the public has redress when an agency choses to blatantly disregard its own rulemaking.”
ARSA’s concerns arise from the FAA’s ongoing disregard for the plain language of the rules, mandated by federal statute, requiring that design approval holders (DAHs) make technical information available regarding the performance of maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations. This requirement ensures that owners of aircraft and those servicing aircraft have access to the latest and most recent information for maintaining aircraft and are critical for guaranteeing flight safety.
Unfortunately, the FAA has ignored instances of noncompliance involving the unavailability of such maintenance information. This situation creates a dilemma for maintenance providers who are required to comply with the technical instructions. Without FAA enforcement, parties are left to argue commercial aspects in accessing such information, despite the clear regulatory requirements.
“The FAA cannot simply turn a blind eye to its own rules, especially those mandated by federal law,” ARSA notes in its brief.
To view ARSA’s brief, please visit: http://www.arsa.org/files2/ARSAAmicusBriefICA-20120611.pdf.
ARSA is an Alexandria, Virginia-based trade association that represents aviation maintenance and manufacturing companies. Founded in 1984, the Association has a distinguished record of advocating for repair stations, providing regulatory compliance assistance to the industry, and representing repair stations on Capitol Hill and in the media. More information is available at www.arsa.org.