Opinion: Promoting Safety Across Borders In Protectionist Times

Annual ARSA meeting makes clear that MRO and aviation safety go hand-in-hand, and are global in scope.

Each spring, ARSA brings the maintenance world to the U.S. capital. Repair station, manufacturer and operator representatives come to the association’s Annual Repair Symposium for their yearly dose of personal engagement with international regulators, U.S. government officials and, of course, each other.

This meeting of the maintenance minds includes trips to Capitol Hill; panels on maintenance, certification, workforce development and business resources; breakout sessions on international regulation, military business and government engagement, as well as addresses by industry analysts and a government auditor. Participants have exclusive access to market analysis, best practices for recruitment and regulatory compliance insight.

On the final day, ARSA’s annual member meeting was called to order by 2017 ARSA President Warner Calvo of Coopesa. At the beginning of his “state of the association” address, Calvo, a native Costa Rican and international representative to the board of directors, donned a straw hat and red scarf. His rustic Central American attire helped demonstrate that appearances or cultural differences aside, the global maintenance community is a single body committed to both good safety and good business.

Across the Americas and beyond every ocean, repair stations work to stay ahead of technology, manage their workforce and capitalize on growing global markets. People try too often—in the name of sovereignty and sometimes protectionism—to draw lines on a map and defend against “foreign” influence, but aviation is borderless. Whether before a legislative body, in the headquarters of an international regulator or face to face with an inspector, the industry must continually recommit itself to safety, efficiency and service of the global flying public.

That it does so daily, political pressure aside, should be celebrated with every safe arrival and on-time departure. The world can’t fly without us.

Brett Levanto is vice president of communications at the Aeronautical Repair Station Association and vice president of operations for Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein.


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