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FAA's Process for Reviewing Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS) Inspection Data

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On March 19, the Office of Inspector General issued its report to Congress on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) process for reviewing field inspection data collected through its Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS).  This report is in response to the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the fiscal year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act.  FAA has been refining ATOS since its 1998 inception and has acted upon a number of our recommendations made over the last 7 years to improve the program.  In response to our 2008 recommendation, FAA recently established a process to compile inspection data at the national level and distribute quarterly reports to alert regional managers to overdue inspections.  However, FAA’s review of ATOS inspections still lacks comprehensive national oversight, largely because FAA still does not track overdue inspections that are not yet assigned to inspectors or fully utilize the data collected through this new process for trend analyses.  We plan to issue a report to FAA later this year with our formal findings and recommendations.