FAA Can Improve the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Its Certification Processes
On October 30, 2013, the Assistant Inspector General for Aviation Audits testified before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation regarding the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) certification process. The Assistant Inspector General focused on FAA’s certification processes in three areas: (1) FAA’s Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program; (2) certifying new air operators and repair stations; and (3) Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) capabilities, including integrating unmanned aircraft systems. The Assistant Inspector General stressed that effective oversight is critical to ensure that all ODA organizations (i.e., organizations that perform certification work on FAA’s behalf) are following FAA’s established certification policies and procedures. He also stated that issues with FAA’s Flight Standards approval process, resource management, and communication from Headquarters have led to a backlog of more than 1,000 aircraft operators and repair stations awaiting certification. Finally, the Assistant Inspector General warned that a growing demand for certifying NextGen technologies and procedures, as well as FAA’s need to certify unmanned aircraft systems, will further add to FAA’s certification workload.