Report on On-Demand Operators: Less Stringent Safety Requirements and Oversight than Large Commercial Air Carriers
On July 13, we issued our report on FAA’s less stringent safety requirements and oversight for on–demand operators compared to larger, commercial air carriers. We conducted this audit at the request of the Chairmen of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Subcommittee on Aviation, who were concerned with disparate regulatory requirements between large commercial and on–demand operators and the level of FAA oversight of on–demand operators. Our audit objectives were to (1) evaluate the differences between FAA regulation and oversight for on–demand operators and larger, commercial air carriers, and (2) identify specific issues that may hinder FAA’s oversight of on–demand operators. This is the first of two reports on this audit and focuses solely on objective 1. We found that on–demand operators do not have to meet many of the regulatory requirements that large, commercial air carriers must follow. These operators also have more risk in their operating environments and receive less oversight from FAA. Further, FAA does not effectively target inspections to higher–risk on–demand operators. The number of fatalities from on–demand operations makes it imperative that FAA address our recommendations, which focused on actions FAA needs to take to enhance safety and oversight of on–demand operators as it plans regulatory and oversight changes for this growing industry. FAA concurred with all of our recommendations. Our second report addressing objective 2 will be issued later this year.