FAA Has Not Effectively Implemented Repair Station Oversight in the European Union
As international air service expands, U.S. air carriers increasingly rely on foreign repair stations to meet their maintenance needs. Currently, more than 400 FAA-certificated repair stations in Europe perform work on U.S.-registered aircraft and components. To avoid duplicative oversight, the United States and the European Union (EU) signed an aviation safety agreement on May 1, 2011, to permit foreign authority safety inspectors to inspect EU repair stations on the behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). While FAA met the agreement’s deadline to transfer its oversight responsibilities to foreign aviation authorities, it did so without ensuring that the authorities were fully prepared to accept their new roles. In addition, FAA did not follow its processes to assess foreign authority capabilities or ensure that these authorities completed their initial training on the agreement prior to the transfer. Training, procedural, and data weaknesses further hinder FAA’s ability to monitor EU repair stations. FAA did not train its inspectors on how to conduct inspections on foreign authorities or provide them with written guidance on how to complete new inspection forms, leading to inaccurate reporting and insufficient information needed to ensure that FAA standards are being met. FAA concurred with our 12 recommendations to enhance the Agency’s oversight of repair stations, citing plans to revise its guidance to provide more comprehensive and standardized procedures for repair station oversight. All recommendations will remain open and unresolved until we receive FAA’s detailed response.