FAA bill provision could affect U.S. maintenance jobs

May 27, 2010

Members of Congress are urging House transportation leaders to preserve American jobs by accepting the Senate version of a foreign repair station oversight provision in the FAA reauthorization bill.

As the House and Senate work to reconcile their FAA reauthorization bills, negotiators must address differences regarding a requirement for inspections of FAA-certificated foreign repair stations and drug and alcohol testing of foreign repair stations workers. The Senate version makes an exception if “a bilateral aviation safety agreement [is] in place that allows for comparable inspection by local authorities”—a provision that preserves the U.S.-E.U. Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA). That agreement is critical for both aviation safety and jobs in the United States, 65 members of Congress told the chairmen and ranking members of the House Transportation Committee and its aviation subcommittee in a letter May 15.

“As you know, the BASA supports well-skilled, high-paying American jobs because it allows U.S. repair stations to work on European aircraft and parts,” the letter states. “Without this agreement, some of the 1,200 E.U. certificated U.S. repair stations will lose their certifications while the others will face dramatically higher certification costs, in both cases jeopardizing jobs dependent on the BASA.”

The BASA provides for cooperation in a variety of aviation areas, including maintenance. With both commercial and general aviation operations depending on U.S. repair stations, the language is important to many sectors of the aviation industry.