Oversight of Aircraft Maintenance, Continuing Analysis, and Surveillance Systems
We found that FAA, in its oversight of carriers’ maintenance programs, has placed limited emphasis on air carriers’ Continuing Analysis and Surveillance Systems (CASS). CASS is the system air carriers use to monitor the effectiveness of their aircraft maintenance and inspection programs. While FAA inspectors conducted reviews of air carriers’ ongoing aircraft maintenance, CASS reviews were either not conducted or not conducted in a comprehensive manner. The lack of effective oversight of air carriers’ CASS perpetuates a system where FAA relies on its own inspections to ensure carriers maintain their aircraft in an airworthy condition. This system is ineffective because FAA does not have sufficient resources to physically inspect every aircraft. While it is clearly the responsibility of air carriers to ensure the day-to-day safe operation and maintenance of their aircraft, FAA must be more proactive in identifying deficiencies in air carriers’ CASS and ensuring those problems are corrected.