The U.S. Department of Transport’s Office of Inspector General issued a review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) oversight of airlines and use of regulatory partnership programs. The review was initiated at the request of the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The objectives of the initial review were to determine (1) the thoroughness of FAA’s investigation of whistleblower complaints regarding FAA’s oversight of Southwest Airlines (SWA) and (2) the type and timeliness of corrective actions FAA took in response to any inappropriate inspector actions.
While FAA generally agreed with most of the recommendations in the report, it disagreed with two: (1) periodically rotate supervisory inspectors to ensure reliable and objective air carrier oversight and (2) establish an independent organization to investigate safety issues identified by FAA employees. Given the seriousness of the issues these recommendations were intended to address, the OIG believes FAA needs to reconsider its position. (DoT, Office of Inspector General)