New NPRM Would Affect Maintenance Facilities
18 November 2009 — The TSA/DHS has released a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would create security procedures for repair stations (Docket No. TSA-2004-17131, Aircraft Repair Station Security)
From the text of the NPRM:
"TSA is proposing to issue regulations to provide for the security of maintenance and repair work conducted on aircraft and aircraft components at domestic and foreign repair stations, of the aircraft and aircraft components located at these repair stations, and of ... repair station facilities.
For purposes of this rulemaking, “repair stations” are those facilities certificated by the FAA to perform maintenance, repair, overhaul, or alterations on U.S. aircraft or aircraft components, including engines, hydraulics, avionics, safety equipment, airframes, and interiors. According to the FAA, there are 4,227 domestic repair stations located in the United States and 694 foreign repair stations located outside the United States that have an FAA certificate under part 145 of the FAA’s rules."
This NPRM has the potential to drastically affect the operation of thousands of smaller maintenance and repair facilities across the nation. Under the new regulations, the TSA could essentially enact any kind of security measures it deems necessary at the nation's maintenance shops, causing financial, operational and logistical burdens that would be far beyond many businesses' ability to cope.
In other words, maintenance shops located on even the smallest of rural airports might be required to have security procedures similar to large international airports for all employees and visitors. Every package, inbound or outbound, might be required to be tracked and x-rayed. All employees could be subject to searches and background checks. All work performed might be subject to inspection by TSA employees. Security issues could result in immediate revocation of a shop's operating certificate. The list goes on and on. Use your imagination.
A public comment period of 90 days has been established. [NOTE: the comment period has been extended to 19 February 2010.]