FAA Safety Oversight of an Air Carrier Industry in Transition
On June 3, we issued our report on FAA’s oversight of the changes network air carriers are making in response to financial challenges and FAA’s oversight of the growth of low cost air carriers. FAA has made progress in implementing risk based oversight systems, but these systems were not flexible and comprehensive enough to permit FAA to adequately monitor the changes in the industry. FAA is facing extraordinary budgetary challenges and expects to lose some of its safety inspectors; therefore, it is imperative that FAA have well-planned and well-executed oversight programs. FAA needs to: (1) strengthen its oversight and monitoring of its field offices to ensure inspectors conduct their inspections in a timely and consistent manner; (2) refine its risk assessment, inspection planning, and data analyses process so they are more comprehensive and flexible; (3) determine if it can make enough efficiency gains in its operations to sustain the planned cuts of 233 safety inspectors beyond 2005.