Aviation safety—the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) top priority—includes oversight of commercial passenger carriers’ safety programs. According to FAA regulations, each airline must establish and maintain a safety management system—a formal, top-down focus on managing safety risks. Using this approach, FAA and air carriers identify hazards and implement corrective actions that mitigate risk. For example, air carriers must identify root causes for hazards and proactively manage risk to prevent accidents. In previous audits, we uncovered weaknesses in FAA’s oversight of maintenance at Allegiant Air, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. However, similar concerns have been raised about FAA’s safety oversight of air carrier maintenance at SkyWest Airlines—including the Agency’s relationship with the airline over regulatory compliance matters.
Based on our preliminary data analysis and FAA safety information related to these concerns, we are initiating this audit. Our objective will be to assess FAA’s oversight of SkyWest Airlines maintenance practices. Specifically, we will evaluate FAA’s actions to address SkyWest’s maintenance non-compliances and violations.