Nearly a decade after the original congressional mandate, the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) final repair station security rules will be issued Jan. 13. This action brings an end to the FAA ban on certificating new foreign repair stations.
The final regulation will be significantly narrower in scope from the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) TSA issued on Nov. 18, 2009. In a call with industry stakeholders, agency officials outlined the final rule, which will be implemented within 45 days and doesn’t mandate any new security programs or plans.
- A shift from process-based to outcome-based security. The focus is on the risk of stealing an unattended, large (over 12,500 pounds) aircraft capable of flight.
- The rule applies only to repair stations with large aircraft under their control “on or adjacent” to a “commercial” airport already under TSA regulation. “On or adjacent” means the repair station is within the fence line, part of the fence line, or otherwise has access to a runway.
- Securing a “flyable” aircraft could include blocking, defueling, or locking it in a hangar. If the aircraft is undergoing repairs that would render it “unable to fly,” no further “security” would be needed.
TSA has inspection authority without advanced notice and can issue security objectives.
GA’s alphabet groups were quick to applaud the action…with some reservations.
“While ARSA (the Aeronautical Repair Station Association) commends TSA for heeding industry input and narrowing the scope of the regulation, it’s a shame the agency took so long to issue what appears to be straightforward,” Executive Director Sarah MacLeod said. “The association looks forward to immediately working with the FAA to begin the process of certificating new foreign repair stations so aviation maintenance companies can continue to create jobs and expand markets.”
“NATA is pleased to see the final TSA repair station security rule published,” said Thomas Hendricks, president of the National Air Transportation Association. “The completion of the final rule lifts the FAA’s moratorium on new foreign repair station certifications, allowing U.S. companies to expand MRO operations globally. This is a great boost to our aviation repair businesses, jobs and our nation’s economy.”
Officials at the Aircraft Electronics Association echoed his sentiments.
“In preliminary review, it appears the TSA has done an exceptional job of addressing public comment during the NPRM process and developing a risk-based security program that incorporated industry best practices currently used for repair station security,” said Paula Derks, AEA president.
“As the international organization representing repair stations in more than 40 countries, we are extremely pleased with the final release of this long-anticipated security regulation,” Derks said. “We look forward to the ending of the congressionally mandated moratorium on new foreign repair stations, and the AEA will work with both the FAA and TSA to minimize the impact of implementing this new rule as well as streamlining the new FAA repair station approvals.”
The new repair station security rule will become effective in 45 days from its Jan. 13 release date (approximately Feb. 27, 2014).
To view the complete text of the rule, click here.