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ARSA CORNER


ARSA’S 2017 SLC IS A REMINDER THAT WHEN INDUSTRY ENGAGES, GOVERNMENT LISTENS


BY CHRISTIAN A. KLEIN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, AERONAUTICAL REPAIR STATION ASSOCIATION


THERE ARE A HANDFUL OF PRINCIPLES THAT UNDERLIE EVERYTHING ARSA DOES. ONE OF THEM IS THAT REPAIR STATION OWNERS AND EMPLOYEES NEED TO BE AGGRESSIVE ADVOCATES FOR THE INDUSTRY. ONE OF OUR PERSISTENT CHALLENGES IS THAT MAINTENANCE IS “BEHIND THE SCENES”; WHEN PEOPLE THINK OF AVIATION, THEY THINK OF MANUFACTURERS AND OPERATORS. TRADITIONALLY, MAINTENANCE HAS BEEN RELUCTANT TO STEP OUT FROM BEHIND THE CURTAINS AND TAKE ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE ON THE PUBLIC STAGE.


ARSA has been working for years to change that. Through our positive publicity and advocacy efforts, we tell the story about the good work you and your colleagues in the MRO sector do to make our civil aviation system safe and the contributions you make to the local, national and global economies.


Gaining visibility is especially


important in Washington. There are thousands of organizations competing for limited attention from policymakers on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch. Having the ear of government officials is critical to shaping legislation (like the pending FAA bill) and regulatory policy (the rules themselves and how they’re enforced). With a new administration and


new Congress in the nation’s capital, ARSA has made “engaging for effect” a theme in 2017. It’s imperative that government decisionmakers know that there IS an aviation maintenance sector (you’d be amazed by how


many don’t!), understand what we do and how government actions affect maintenance markets, costs of doing business and efficiency. It’s no surprise then that engagement was the theme of ARSA’s 2017 Strategic Leadership Conference (SLC), which was held in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 18 and 19. Dozens of MRO executives from around the world converged on the city to make our sector’s voice heard. Over the course of the two-


day conference, attendees got up close and personal with the U.S. government. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta presented a keynote speech that emphasized the importance of cooperation between government and industry to build on our outstanding safety record. Former ICAO Air Navigation Commissioner Bill Voss highlighted opportunities to engage on internationally to make regulation more efficient. A panel of senior executives from AAR, HAECO Americas, and First


Aviation discussed strategies for affecting government outcomes. Another team of experts from First Aviation Services, HEICO and the cargo airline industry discussed ways to support the development of independent repairs. And a senior executive from Southwest Airlines discussed operator priorities in the FAA reauthorization debate. But participants weren’t stuck in their seats all day, they actively engaged. Attendees first divided into groups and met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss FAA reauthorization and workforce development. Then the focus shifted to the executive branch with a visit to the White House complex to meet with administration officials to discuss regulatory reform, tax policy, and career technical education. The message from the administration was loud and clear: We want to work with the industry and we need your input. Attendees came away from the conference both with new insights


38 DOMmagazine.com | dec 2017 | jan 2018


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