The U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced that it will carry out a congressional request to review FAA oversight of air carrier maintenance programs. The appeal was prompted in part by a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee request for assurance that inspectors are demonstrating the ability to “account for mergers, rapid expansion, cost-cutting and other factors that could affect air carriers’ decisions about maintenance.”
The OIG’s announcement recognized the industry’s impressive safety record but focused on the need for continued vigilance due to “recent safety events and disclosures—such as allegations that mechanics have been forced to shortcut repairs to aircraft as well as emergency landings and aborted takeoffs caused by mechanical problems.”
A similar audit conducted in 2001 prompted several agency recommendations, including creation of a follow-up system for identified discrepancies, improvement to inspection documentation requirements and enhancement of oversight personnel training. During that time, the OIG also suggested that the FAA use trend analysis to study the effectiveness of air carrier continuing analysis and surveillance systems.
Once a final report is issued, the OIG office of auditing and evaluation records and monitors action items through its Recommendation Dashboard. All recommendations are thereafter officially closed out, either through “executive decision” or corrective action.