FAA's Actions Taken to Address Allegations of Unsafe Maintenance Practices at Northwest Airlines
On September 28, we issued our report on FAA's actions taken to address allegations of unsafe maintenance practices at Northwest Airlines. These allegations were reported by an FAA Aviation Safety Inspector assigned to FAA's Northwest Airlines Certificate Management Office (CMO) in Bloomington, Minnesota. The allegations focused on training for Northwest's replacement mechanics and management personnel transferred into maintenance roles and processes for receipt of aircraft parts. The complainant contacted then Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton, who requested that FAA and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) evaluate the validity of these allegations.
We determined that FAA needs better procedures for responding to and resolving safety complaints identified by its inspectors. We recommended that FAA (1) require the Flight Standards Service to establish better internal review procedures to ensure that comprehensive, independent investigations of safety allegations and recommendations are consistently performed, and (2) require the Bloomington CMO to report to the Director of Flight Standards Service on actions taken by the CMO and Northwest to resolve deficiencies identified by inspectors and FAA review teams. FAA concurred, and its planned actions satisfy the intent of our recommendations.