A decade after Congress mandated that the adopt new repair station security regions, the agency is finally issuing the rule and effectively lifting a ban on certification of new foreign repair stations.
Congress, frustrated with TSA’s inaction on the issue, bannedfrom certifying new foreign repair stations until the final rule was issued. That ban had been in place for more than five years, and the number of repair stations awaiting FAA certification had grown to more than 90.
TSA, however, plans to publish the final rule on Jan. 13, a move that comes after industry leaders called on new Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to make its release a priority. But Johnson had to await final clearance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where it had been under review since March 2013—well past the normal 90-day OMB review period.
The rule codifies TSA’s inspection authority and requires Part 145 repair stations to permit agency officials to inspect and review records. It also directs repair stations to comply with future security directives and implement certain security measures.
The rule establishes procedures for TSA to notify repair stations of deficiencies within a repair station’s security program, as well as for the agency to determine when an imminent security threat is present.
TSA says it does not intend to inspect facilities except to ensure compliance with security directives or mandated security programs or in response to information provided by the U.S. or foreign governments.
The security measures cover repairs stations that are on or adjacent to certain airports. They essentially call for the designation of an individual to carry out certain security responsibilities and measures to prevent unauthorized operation of large aircraft that are left unattended. The designated individuals must undergo a background check.
As for the determination that an immediate risk to security is present, TSA will notify the repair station and FAA that a certificate must be revoked.
While industry leaders were still reviewing the rulemaking, General Aviation Manufacturers Association President and CEO Pete Bunce welcomed its release. “By finally putting this rule into place, the U.S. government is ending a decade of bureaucratic inaction, establishing a risk-based security requirement for repair stations and making it easier for U.S. businesses to access and support markets throughout the world,” Bunce says.