AVIATION SAFETY: COMMUTER AIRLINE SAFETY WOULD BE ENHANCED WITH BETTER FAA OVERSIGHT. STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD, SUBCOMMITTEE ON AVIATION, COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, BY KENNETH M. MEAD

This is the testimony of Kenneth M. Mead, Director, Transportation Issues, Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division, General Accounting Office (GAO), concerning commuter airline safety and the rise in commuter accidents in 1991. Briefly, GAO found the following: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken clear and positive steps to improve its inspection program, such as increasing the number of inspectors and defining annual inspection requirements for each airline. However, key shortcomings remain, including the fact that FAA lacks a system to target its limited inspection resources on the basis of airline safety performance. FAA allocates its inspection resources primarily on the basis of an airline's fleet size. GAO recommended that FAA give priority to developing a performance-based risk-assessment system and FAA is now developing such a system. In 1990, FAA did not perform at least one required avionics, maintenance, or operations inspection on 28 of about 165 commuter airlines. Also, in some instances, FAA's routine inspections were not effective in discovering safety violations that led to emergency orders revoking commuters' operating certificates. In these cases, FAA inpectors became aware of the safety violations as the result of tips or an investigation initiated following accidents. Heavy work load demands affected some inspectors' ability to perform inspections. Also, some violations, such as falsifying records, are difficult to detect.

  • Corporate Authors:

    U.S. General Accounting Office

    441 G Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20548
  • Publication Date: 1992-3-17

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 10 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00621731
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/T-RCED-92-40
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 30 1992 12:00AM