Citing lessons learned from reports submitted by the Federal Aviation Administration and American Airlines in response to last month’s grounding of hundreds of MD-80 aircraft, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation called on the FAA and airlines to better ensure mutual understanding of what constitutes compliance with an Aviation Directive.
Secretary Peters added that the FAA and airlines need to review and improve procedures for understanding the process, timing and criteria for requesting and approving alternative solutions for safety directives, known as Alternate Means of Compliance.
The Secretary also said she is calling on airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to review existing protocols for communications to make sure that significant safety decisions are made using a clearly documented process.
"When situations of this magnitude evolve, it is critical that all parties have the right information so the right decisions can be made," Secretary Peters noted.
She said the reports make clear that the FAA is the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes a safety of flight issue and that safety deadlines must always be met on time. "It’s important to note that both American and the FAA agree when it comes to aviation safety, there are no soft deadlines." (U.S. Department of Transportation)