FAA has rubber-stamped a one-year extension that permits U.S. repair stations with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certifications to inspect and approve parts that do not have certain EASA-required documentation.
The move helps U.S. repair stations comply with a requirement in guidance--officially Maintenance Annex Guidance (MAG) Change 6--issued to support the U.S.-E.U Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA). Change 6, issued in mid-2016, requires all new parts entering a repair station to have an airworthiness approval tag—an 8130-3 in the U.S.
EASA’s rules for production-approval holders (PAHs) require issuance of a tag, but FAA’s PAH rules assume a part made under them is airworthy and don't require specific documentation. Because of this, many U.S. PAHs don’t take the extra step of issuing tags, creating a potential issue for the 1,400 U.S.-based repair stations with EASA certifications. The issue will reportedly be addressed in MAG Change 7, but it is not clear when the update--once expected last year--will be in place.
The Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) says it "will continue to press regulators on both sides of the Atlantic in order to realize that long-sought goal."
ARSA last year led a multi-organization effort to ensure the inspection authority was extended until this month. The new FAA policy, Notice N 8900.479 targeting FAA inspectors, mirrors the previous policy with a cancellation date of Aug. 7, 2019.
FAA has a related program in place to help distributors cope with parts in inventory that lack the required EASA documentation.