Decreasing Audit Burdens Through Mutual Recognition

Have you ever felt like your MRO undergoes duplicative audits? If so, you’re not alone.

Have you ever felt like your MRO undergoes duplicative audits? If so, you’re not alone—and there are industry efforts underway to decrease that repetition.

In Moog’s case, it undergoes dozens and dozens of annual audits—from regulatory agencies (each of which take 34-51 days), customer audits (24-26 days each) and internal quality system audits (37-72 days each), said Paul Hawthorne, Moog Aircraft Group’s director of global support quality, speaking at the Aeronautical Repair Station Association’s Senior Leadership Conference in Montreal October 6.

Hawthorne doesn’t think duplicative certificate/surveillance audits add value and is concerned that “if all 191 states decide to assert their rights and each comes up with only 10 special conditions, the industry will have more than 1,900 special conditions to be in compliance.” He believes the industry needs mutually recognised certifies.

Thankfully, the ICAO Airworthiness Panel is discussing formal recognition of approved maintenance organizations (AMO), said Luc Tytgat, EASA’s director strategy and safety management at the ARSA event. (EASA participates as the panel’s chair.)

The group is considering a two-phase approach “aimed at promoting mutual recognition of AMOs and ensuring clear allocation of state of registry responsibilities,” said Tytgat.

The first part (contained in State Letter SP 60/4-16/69) would transfer AMO requirements from ICAO’s AMO Standards Annex 6 to Annex 8. The second part, being discussed by the panel, would clarify the responsibilities of operators and maintenance organizations.

To reduce duplicated certification and AMO surveillance activities, Tytgat thinks a global framework and regional initiatives are needed, including:

*Amend ICAO standards

*Promote joint investigations of AMOs by civil aviation authorities

*Use common industry standards to audit AMOs

*Pool audits

Hopefully these efforts would decrease the audit resources expended by maintenance facilities, operators and states.

Moog operates seven repairs stations in three countries, four military support facilities and one aftermarket distributor, has many civil aviation authority certifications from around the world and holds ISO 9001:2008, AS9100:2009 and CASE Standard 1A approvals.

Approvals like these are signs of quality processes. They’re a cost of doing business, but is it efficient not to offer mutual recognition of certificates?

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