WASHINGTON – A coalition of aviation trade associations spoke out on behalf of the international maintenance, repair, and overhaul market. While the matter at hand was drug and alcohol testing at foreign aviation repair stations, what is really at stake is international sovereignty, the health of the global aeronautical business community, and the safety of the flying public worldwide.
The groups, led by the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) and including the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), Airlines for America (A4A), the Cargo Airline Association (CAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), the National Air Carrier Association (NACA), and the Regional Airline Association (RAA) submitted comments regarding the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). The ANPRM is the first stage of a process that could impose testing requirements on aviation maintenance providers around the globe.
Aviation repair stations have a substantial economic impact on communities throughout the United States and the world, yet few travelers think of maintenance technicians as they sit on the runway. In reality, every passenger in every aircraft takes-off and lands safely because of the dedicated effort of the highly trained men and women who maintain and repair their aircraft.
“What we’re really doing is asking the FAA to remember that good safety is good business,” said Daniel Fisher, vice president of legislative affairs for ARSA. “This is a solution in search of a problem, not a good-faith effort to protect the public. In the end, this rule would impose costs on businesses, their customers, and passengers worldwide while producing no additional safety benefit.”
The industry implored the agency to respect national sovereignty by adhering to congressional language requiring any such rule be “consistent with the applicable laws” of the countries impacted. However, this is more than a legal issue. The American imposition of testing requirements could damage bilateral aviation safety agreements (BASAs) and weaken the small businesses that are the industry’s backbone.
ARSA has also submitted its own detailed comments elaborating on congressional intent, national sovereignty issues, the importance of adhering to bilateral agreements, and protecting small businesses.