Earlier this week the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) published its final rule concerning security for aircraft repair stations.
This final rule, which creates 49 CFR Part 1554—Aircraft Repair Station Security, deals specifically with FAA-certified Part 145 aircraft repair stations. Conspicuously missing from the final rule are many of the expensive unfunded security mandates originally proposed, such as ID badges, perimeter fences, and mandatory training.
Unlike the initial proposal, this security regulation does not create a new security program. Instead, it institutes security measures.
The final rule recognizes that not every repair station is the same and creates three categories of Part 145 repair stations: foreign repair stations, domestic repair stations that are on or adjacent to airports that operate under a TSA-approved Part 1542 security program, and all other domestic Part 145 repair stations. There is an exception: The regulation does not apply to Part 145 repair stations that are located on U.S. or foreign military installations.
All repair stations are to receive TSA Security Directives (SDs). Repair stations must protect the SDs and share them only with those having a need-to-know as SDs are considered Sensitive Security Information (SSI).
All repair stations will be subject to inspection by TSA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials. However, the focus of regular inspections will be on foreign repair stations and those domestic repair stations on or adjacent to those airports under a TSA security program. That’s because those two types of repair stations must adopt the security measures listed in Subpart B of the new regulation.
The security measures consist of three actions: Designate within the repair station a TSA point of contact, make use of one or more ways to prevent the unauthorized operation of all large aircraft that are capable of flying, and verify background information of those who are designated the TSA point of contact and all others who have access to the means used to prevent the unauthorized operation of large aircraft.
The curious splitting of hairs in this regulation depends on whether a repair station is located on or adjacent to an airport that must comply with a TSA-approved 49 CFR Part 1542 airport security program. If a Part 145 aircraft repair station is located on or adjacent to one of these airports, then the repair station is considered to be at a higher risk of terrorist activity than those located on, say, a reliever or general aviation airport.
The new regulation defines “on an airport” as being located on an air operations area (AOA) or a security identification display area (SIDA). Being “adjacent to an airport” refers to having an access point which would allow a large aircraft (having a maximum takeoff weight greater than 12,500 pounds) to move from the repair station onto the neighboring airport’s AOA or SIDA. So those domestic repair stations located on or adjacent to airports that are not covered under a Part 1542 security program, as well as those not anywhere near an airport, are not required to carry out the listed security measures.
The TSA still maintains the same enforcement and compliance tools of the original proposal. TSA has the ability to have the FAA suspend or revoke a repair station’s license. However, TSA specifically states in its responses to public comment that in most situations it will use a process of increasing consequences for security infractions that includes “counseling, administrative action, and civil penalties.”
Published on Jan. 13, 2014, this final rule takes effect 45 days later: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014.
While the final rule is much less burdensome than what was originally proposed, those with Part 145 repair stations will want to read the final rule and learn the finer details. To go to the Federal Register and read, download, or print the final rule and its regulation, click here.
Cheers from The Alamo.