Further Actions Are Needed To Improve FAA’s Oversight of the Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program (VDRP) provides air carriers the opportunity to report and correct areas of non-compliance without civil penalty. While VDRP helps FAA identify and mitigate safety issues, it requires close monitoring to ensure the program is not misused. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 mandated that our office examine FAA’s oversight of VDRP.
FAA has made progress in ensuring that air carrier disclosure reports meet VDRP requirements, but the Agency lacks awareness of the root causes that led to reported violations—in part because FAA does not require air carriers to identify or document the root cause of a violation when they submit a self-disclosure. Furthermore, FAA does not ensure that air carriers fully implement corrective actions or verify whether the actions are adequate at resolving problems. We also found that FAA does not effectively collect, analyze, and trend VDRP data to identify safety risks at the national level. As a result, FAA inspectors are not realizing the full potential of VDRP data to target inspections to areas of highest risk.
We made eight recommendations to improve FAA’s VDRP oversight and its ability to identify safety risks using VDRP data. We have requested that FAA provide a written response to our report and recommendations within 30 days.