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Key Safety Challenges Facing the FAA

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On April 10, 2008, the Inspector General testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security. Aviation safety oversight is–and must remain–FAA’s highest priority. For over 10 years, our work has focused on actions needed to maintain the integrity and safety of our aviation system. However, a number of high–profile events, including fundamental breakdowns in FAA oversight at Southwest Airlines, have raised legitimate concerns about the effectiveness of FAA’s overall approach to safety oversight and what changes are needed. The testimony focused on the key actions that FAA and its stake holders will need to address over the next several years. These included (1 )strengthening FAA’s oversight of the aviation industry, (2) improving runway safety, and (3) addressing attrition in two of FAA’s critical workforces–air traffic controllers and aviation safety inspectors.