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Audit: FAA faces challenges in implementing runway incursion mitigation initiatives
1 July 2018

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Transportation published the findings of their audit into the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) runway safety efforts. 

Due to the increase in runway incursions, in June 2015 FAA initiated a Call to Action forum that focused on developing short-, mid-, and long-term initiatives to mitigate runway incursions and improve safety. In November 2015, FAA published 22 initiatives developed at the forum.
In December 2016 the OIG initiated an audit with the objective to evaluate FAA’s progress in implementing these initiatives.

OIG found that as of November 2017, FAA had completed 10 of the 22 initiatives, including initiatives aimed at educating pilots on signs, markings, and other visual aids at high-risk airports and updating a best practices list for airport surface and movement areas. Ten initiatives are still in progress while two initiatives were canceled. However, the Agency faces challenges in fully implementing the initiatives still in progress. These include dedicating funding to complete four initiatives and fully implementing new technologies for seven initiatives, which could take years to complete. In addition, while FAA has implemented a monitoring plan to track the status of the initiatives, the plan does not tie the initiatives to quantifiable goals or other metrics that would measure their effectiveness in reducing runway incursions.

OIG made three recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administrator regarding revisions to the 2015 Call to Action monitoring plan. FAA concurred with all three recommendations:

  1. Update the target delivery dates for initiatives that are still in progress, including those without target delivery dates, and implement procedures for continually updating delivery dates and descriptions of initiatives as changes are made.
  2. Develop and include in the monitoring plan quantifiable metrics or other indicators that can measure the effectiveness of the initiatives.
  3. Consolidate duplicate initiatives within the monitoring plan.