The House has passed language requiring the FAA to audit foreign repair stations at least twice per year, and the Senate continues to consider the same idea. But what does this mean to US repair stations?
There has been a lot of debate in the United States about whether our trading partners would engage in reciprocal behavior if the United States passes legislation requiring semiannual audits of foreign repair stations. Congressman Oberstar gave a speech several months ago in which he assured Americans that there would be no reciprocity. But it appears that he cannot speak for the Europeans. In a June 5 letter, Daniel Calleja, the EC Director of Air Transport, asked EASA to develop a plan to ensure that Europe will be “reciprocating in full.” EASA, in turn, has developed a reciprocal plan for semiannual audits of EASA-accepted repair stations in the United States. The plan has an implementation date of July 2010.
What this means for US repair stations is that in addition to paying 750 Euros for their annual renewal, they will also pay the costs associated with the actual audits – I have heard estimates of $30,000 per year, although the actual cost may depend on how EASA implements the plan, and how many US repair stations choose to maintain their EASA 145 privileges. One idea being floated would be to establish a US office to perform oversight of the 1233 EASA-accepted repair stations in the United States.