Aviation Safety

FAA Needs to More Aggressively Manage Its Inspection Program Gao ID: T-RCED-92-25 February 6, 1992

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has yet to address GAO's concerns about shortcomings in its airline inspection management and oversight. The agency is unable to ensure that (1) airlines are complying with safety regulations and (2) its limited resources are targeted to inspecting airlines that pose the greatest risk to the flying public. Furthermore, because FAA is not tracking corrective actions for identified problems, serious problems may go uncorrected, putting airline passengers at risk. The National Transportation Safety Board has criticized FAA for not ensuring that airlines take corrective action and found that FAA's lack of aggressive action and ineffective surveillance contributed to accidents. FAA acknowledges that improvements are needed in its inspection program and is taking some positive steps. Fundamental problems remain, however. FAA needs to correct problems in its inspection program now to increase the margin of safety before it is overtaken by newer challenges, such as aging aircraft, airline industry restructuring, globalization of the industry, and oversight of foreign air carriers.

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