FAA, acting on a request from the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association (RACCA), has extended the comment window for its proposed rule calling for new requirements for air carriers that contract out maintenance. The new comment deadline is March 13.
RACCA cited the proposal's "significant unintended consequences" and asked that its members receive more time to process the rule and come up with alternatives.
The new regulations are mandated by Congress as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2011. (Section 319, for those keeping score.) They require Part 121 and 135 carriers to create contractor-centric "policies, procedures, methods, and instructions," publish them in their manuals, and share the relevant manuals with contractors performing work.
Both Part 121 and Part 135 already include provisions that require maintenance providers to follow a certificate holder's maintenance manual. In FAA's view, however, manuals are too often geared toward in-house maintenance providers--hence the need for improvement.
Other provisions of the proposed rule include requiring are carriers to keep an updated list of maintenance providers it uses. Again, this is already required, but FAA says the lists aren't accurate enough. The new rule would require monthly updates.