Alexandria, VA, October 30, 2013 – National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks testified today before the House Aviation Subcommittee to discuss the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) aircraft certification process.
The FAA issues type and manufacturing certificates to aircraft, aircraft engines and propellers, as well as aircraft parts and appliances. The purpose is to create a standard level of safety that is continuously monitored by the FAA.
Hendricks testified that many general aviation businesses are concerned about a lack of consistent interpretation of FAA regulations in the aircraft certification process across the country. When the FAA does not apply regulations consistently, it can affect a company’s ability to remain competitive.
“NATA represents businesses large and small that serve key roles in the nation’s economy. These drivers of our economy deserve a level playing field where the rules are interpreted on a consistent basis,” Hendricks said. “When the FAA grants approval for a certificate or process to one aircraft operator or maintenance facility, without giving the same approval to a similar business in another area of the country, it directly affects a company’s ability to remain competitive and costs our members. In a survey conducted by NATA, respondents cited tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue per occurrence.”
“New interpretations can also cause confusion and force aviation companies to redirect limited human and monetary resources – resources that would be better spent on improving aviation safety,” Hendricks added.
During today’s testimony, Hendricks stated that NATA believes that many of the existing certification processes are outdated and hamper the FAA’s ability to keep pace with rapidly growing technology improvements and innovations.
“The rapid evolution of modern technology is, in many cases, outpacing the FAA’s certification process. New standards need to be performance-based, so that the industry can quickly innovate without the FAA having the burden of changing the rules each time technology advances,” Hendricks said. “The FAA has already seen success with this method for small aircraft and we believe similar success is possible for larger general aviation and commercial aircraft.”