Aviation Safety: Additional Oversight Planning by FAA Could Enhance Safety Risk Management

The U.S. aviation system is one of the safest in the world, reflecting the work of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), industry, and others to continually improve safety. To further enhance safety, in 2005, FAA began adopting a proactive, data-driven, risk-based approach to managing safety, referred to as Safety Management System (SMS), and has proposed rules that would require SMS implementation for certain segments of the aviation industry. The Government Accountability Office was asked to review SMS implementation in the aviation industry. This report addresses (1) the status of SMS implementation at FAA and in the aviation industry; (2) key challenges that FAA and industry face in implementing SMS; and (3) actions aviation stakeholders believe FAA could take to improve SMS implementation. GAO reviewed FAA documents and interviewed FAA officials. GAO also interviewed representatives from 20 selected aviation stakeholders, including commercial air carriers, certificated airports, repair stations, and design and manufacturing firms. Because the stakeholders were non-statistically selected based on their size, SMS implementation, and the industry segment represented, their views cannot be generalized to the industry or any industry segment. GAO recommends that FAA develop a plan for overseeing industry SMS implementation that includes providing guidance and training for FAA inspectors by the time final rules are published. GAO provided the Department of Transportation (DOT) with a draft of this report for comment. DOT provided technical corrections which were incorporated as appropriate.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 41p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01529427
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-14-516
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 25 2014 3:00PM