Actions Taken To Improve Management and Reduce Costs of Interior's Aircraft Operations

NSIAD-84-45: Published: Apr 2, 1984. Publicly Released: Apr 2, 1984.

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GAO reported on actions taken by the Department of the Interior's Office of Aircraft Services (OAS) in response to recommendations in three prior GAO reports on OAS aircraft management. GAO also provided information on the management role of OAS and on the aircraft operations of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at one of its fire centers.

GAO had previously recommended that OAS manage all of Interior's aircraft and related services in the contiguous 48 States to the same extent as it does in Alaska and that BLM should halt efforts to develop its own aircraft management systems unless it could be shown that OAS could not provide the needed services at lower cost. It was also recommended that OAS provide its services to non-Interior agencies under certain circumstances. Interior disagreed with many of the recommendations; however, Interior has since implemented all of the recommendations except the one concerning OAS management of aviation resources in the contiguous 48 States. Although Interior's recent support of OAS and bureaus' increasing voluntary use of certain OAS services are encouraging, further actions are needed to provide departmental oversight and to ensure continued improvement in the management of Interior's aviation resources outside of Alaska. Concerning the BLM fire center's use of its own aircraft, GAO found questionable the year-round necessity for aircraft, government pilots, and support personnel because they were used only to a limited extent and because the services they provided could have been obtained from the private sector at a much lower cost. GAO maintains that the continued use of full-service contract or lease aircraft will save millions of dollars in the fire center's aviation costs without affecting its mission.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct OAS to assume ownership and management of all departmental aircraft, aircraft facilities and equipment, and aviation-related personnel presently managed by other bureaus and offices.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

 

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