National Airspace System:

Incomplete Transition Back to National Maintenance and Certification Standards in the Federal Aviation Administration's Alaskan Region

GAO-02-127R: Published: Nov 30, 2001. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 2001.

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In 1997, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) adopted a pilot program, known as the Corporate Maintenance Philosophy, that reduced the frequency of periodic maintenance and certification in FAA's Alaskan Region. In 2001, the Federal Labor Relations Authority ruled that FAA must revert back to the national maintenance and certification standards in the Alaskan Region because it had not negotiated an extension of the pilot program with its unions. GAO found that FAA's Alaskan Region has not fully returned to the national standards, but FAA officials believe that the transition will be completed by January 1, 2002. Seven of 12 locations had finished updating maintenance and certification information into FAA's computerized maintenance management system (MMS) by the October 1, 2001, deadline. In several locations where MMS had been updated, however, the standards that incorporated were not subjected to quality control checks. GAO was unable to determine whether periodic maintenance in some areas has been done with the frequency required by the national guidelines. FAA is hiring additional staff to perform maintenance and certifications and will appoint managers to check the accuracy of MMS data. The process of certifying equipment to ensure that it functions according to national standards had been more than 90 percent complete as of August 2001, according to FAA officials.

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