FAA Continues To Face Challenges in Implementing a Risk-Based Approach for Repair Station Oversight
On May 1, 2013, we issued our final report on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) risk-based oversight of aircraft repair stations. Currently, FAA is responsible for overseeing nearly 4,800 repair stations used worldwide by U.S air carriers. We found that while FAA developed a risk assessment process to aid repair station inspectors in identifying areas of greatest concern, its oversight continues to emphasize completing mandatory inspections instead of targeting resources where they are needed based on risk. Less than half of its inspection elements are evaluated based on risk, and foreign repair stations are not inspected using a risk-based system. In addition, FAA’s oversight of foreign and domestic repair stations lacks effective, standardized processes for identifying deficiencies and verifying that they have been addressed. As a result, we found numerous systemic discrepancies at the repair stations we visited during our review. FAA concurred with all nine of our recommendations to enhance the Agency’s oversight of repair stations, citing its plans to implement a new oversight system—the Safety Assurance System (SAS)—in fiscal year 2015, and proposing actions to address our concerns in the interim. However, we are requesting additional information or alternative actions for three recommendations to ensure adequate oversight until SAS is complete.