In December 2010 the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Transportation started a follow-up review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) oversight of repair stations. The review was conducted at the request of Representative Jerry F. Costello, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Aviation.
Currently, FAA is responsible for overseeing nearly 4,800 repair stations used worldwide by U.S air carriers. The OIG found that while FAA developed a risk assessment process to aid repair station inspectors in identifying areas of greatest concern, its oversight continues to emphasize completing mandatory inspections instead of targeting resources where they are needed based on risk. Less than half of its inspection elements are evaluated based on risk, and foreign repair stations are not inspected using a risk-based system. In addition, FAA’s oversight of foreign and domestic repair stations lacks effective, standardized processes for identifying deficiencies and verifying that they have been addressed. As a result, the OIG reports it found numerous systemic discrepancies at the repair stations visited during the review.
FAA concurred with all nine of the OIG’s recommendations to enhance the Agency’s oversight of repair stations, citing its plans to implement a new oversight system—the Safety Assurance System (SAS)—in fiscal year 2015, and proposing actions to address our concerns in the interim. However, we are requesting additional information or alternative actions for three recommendations to ensure adequate oversight until SAS is complete.