Aviation Safety: FAA's Risk-Based Oversight for Repair Stations Could Benefit from Additional Airline Data and Performance Metrics

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for overseeing nearly 4,800 FAA-certificated repair stations in the United States and in foreign countries. While U.S. airlines' rely on repair stations for much of their maintenance, some aviation stakeholders have questioned FAA’s oversight of foreign repair stations. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to examine maintenance contracting trends and FAA oversight of repair stations. This report assesses: (1) trends and factors influencing airline maintenance contracting from 2010 through 2014, (2) how FAA’s oversight of foreign and domestic repair stations differs and associated challenges, and (3) efforts taken by FAA to improve its risk-based oversight. GAO analyzed Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) data on airlines’ maintenance spending from 2010 through 2014 for 28 selected U.S. commercial airlines with the largest number of flights, and interviewed representatives for 10 U.S. airlines. GAO visited seven foreign repair stations in three countries, and interviewed industry representatives. GAO also analyzed FAA inspection and enforcement data for repair stations from 2010 through 2014. FAA should: (1) develop and implement a process for incorporating into Safety Assurance System (SAS) volume data for U.S. airlines’ maintenance contracted to repair stations and (2) develop a process to evaluate the effectiveness of SAS. FAA disagreed with the first recommendation, noting it considered other volume-related data, and agreed with the second recommendation. GAO continues to believe the recommendation is valid as discussed in this report.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 65p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01608612
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-16-679
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 28 2016 3:47PM