Need For Improvement In Airlift Of Cargo To Southeast Asia
B-157476, May 14, 1968
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the extent to which available cargo capacity was being utilized on cargo and passenger aircraft managed by Military Airlift Command (MAC), focusing on: (1) regulations, procedures, and practices for processing and transporting air cargo; (2) contracts with commercial air carriers; (3) selected flight records; and (4) records pertaining to standards, authorizations, and assignments for personnel responsible for cargo processing.
GAO noted that: (1) although critically needed outbound cargo destined for Southeast Asia was awaiting shipment at Travis Air Force Base, MAC was dispatching less than fully loaded aircraft which resulted in available and paid for airlift capacity being unused; (2) the primary causes of the loss in airlift capacity were: (a) inefficient loading of cargo on the pallets used in chartered cargo aircraft; (b) low utilization of baggage compartment space on chartered cargo and passenger aircraft; (c) failure to attain minimum weight per pallet on cargo shipments; and (d) nonutilization of available space on special assignment airlift mission (SAAM) aircraft departing Travis; (3) during fiscal year (FY) 1966, Travis paid for but did not use about 16 percent of the airlift capacity guaranteed by commercial carriers under several contracts; (4) at Travis, pallets were not efficiently loaded to attain maximum utilization of the available space; (5) because the pallets were not fully utilized, MAC lost substantial amounts of airlift capacity; (6) GAO believes that, by better utilization of baggage compartment space on both cargo and passenger flights, MAC could have substantially increased its commercial airlift of cargo; (7) on MAC cargo flights the baggage compartment space is available to the government unless it is needed by the carrier to transport route support items or spare parts required to perform in accordance with the contract; (8) GAO estimates that 1.3 million pounds of available airlift capacity was lost during FY 1966 because guaranteed available baggage compartment capacity on passenger charters was not fully utilized; (9) GAO believes that the loss of cargo airlift capacity on cargo flights resulted principally because the 60th Aerial Port Squadron's (APS) Air Freight Section did not have the authorized skilled personnel to carry out its assigned responsibilities; (10) a review of correspondence relating to the manpower structure of the 60th APS revealed that officials at Travis had recognized the manpower problems of the 60th APS and had apprised MAC, requesting that corrective action be taken; (11) GAO estimates that 4.6 million pounds of airlift capacity was lost on SAAM flights departing Travis during the period November 1, 1965, to October 31, 1966; and (12) GAO's analysis of prearrival reports on 15 SAAM flights due in at Travis showed that the information reported was inaccurate or incomplete in some cases and insufficient in almost all cases for effective planning at Travis to utilize the available space on these aircraft.
- Review Pending
- Closed - implemented
- Closed - not implemented
Recommendation for Executive Action
Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should require that the Commander of the Military Airlift Command maintain surveillance over procedures relating to SAAM aircraft to ensure that accurate SAAM AM-8 departure messages are properly prepared and forwarded to the appropriate aerial ports so that the substantial amount of available space on these aircraft can be utilized. The Secretary of Defense should require that the matters covered in this report be reviewed by the appropriate internal audit or internal review staff to provide additional assurance that the necessary corrective actions are taken and effectively implemented.
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