Questioning FAA Repair Station Letter of Compliance Application ‘Requirement’

FAA says requiring a letter of compliance as part of the application process would not lead to any additional costs.

Printed headline: Who Complies?

In a May 29 letter, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) and the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) took issue with the FAA’s internal guidance that effectively requires a “letter of compliance” to accompany a Part 145 repair station application.

Previous agency attempts to make the concept a regulatory requirement were met with industry resistance. A notice of proposed rulemaking justified the mandate based on the letter’s long-time existence as “an essential part of the application process.” The agency further asserted that requiring a letter of compliance as part of the application process would not lead to any additional costs, since applicants already provide them in adherence to policy.

Industry commenters countered that the requirement is outdated and no longer needed and that under the agency’s reasoning, cost evaluations for regulatory proposals would never be considered as long as the concept was first introduced as a matter of agency policy.

In its comments, the AEA suggested that the proposal was “a carryover from when the repair station manual was simply a statement of commitment to comply with the regulations.” Given the current regulation, it argued, which mandates creation of a repair station and quality manual, the letter of compliance is redundant. 

ARSA agreed, stating in its comments that “The FAA must find compliance with [Part 145] requirements before a certificate may be issued. A statement by the applicant that it must do something that is already required by the plain language of the regulations is redundant and unnecessary.” 

The joint letter reminded the agency that its previous proposal to mandate the letter of compliance was subsequently withdrawn and that it should therefore remove all reference to it from guidance material; namely, application instructions found in the Flight Standards Information Management System.

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