by Jason Dickstein
The long-awaited TSA Repair Station Security Rule—a rule a decade in the making—was finally issued in January of this year. The new rule was authorized by Congress under the repair station security statute (49 U.S.C. § 44924). As with any new rule, the TSA repair station security rule will mean a number of changes about which repair stations will need to be aware.
One of the primary effects of the repair station security statute was to bar the FAA from issuing any new foreign repair station certificates until TSA security audits were completed for existing stations. But because TSA had not issued its rule, TSA was unable to conduct any audits because it did not have any standards to audit to. Now that the rules are out, TSA has begun auditing repair stations for compliance with the new security rules. After TSA has completed its audits of all existing repair stations, the FAA may once again start issuing foreign repair station certificates. The FAA has been prevented from issuing foreign repair station certificates for more than five years, so the ability to begin issuing certificates could mean good news for non-US repair stations as well as for U. S. repair stations seeking to expand their operations overseas.
With the advent of new audits and the issuance of new foreign repair station certificates, there are several issues about which business owners and employees should be vigilant.
First, the new security regulations apply quite broadly. The regulations apply to those repair stations certificated by the FAA under Part 145 that are on or adjacent to airports and that have means of access permitting aircraft of 12,500 MTOW to move to the repair station. The exception to this rule is for repair stations located on a U.S. or foreign government military base. Additionally, the rule is applicable to all aircraft over the threshold, not just N-registered aircraft. The key element is access; although all repair stations are subject to inspection as provided in the rule and to Security Directives should there be a security need, the rule text requires only certain repair stations to carry out security measures on a regular basis.
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