Aging Aircraft:

FAA Needs Comprehensive Plan to Coordinate Government and Industry Actions

RCED-90-75: Published: Dec 22, 1989. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 1989.

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GAO assessed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) efforts to ensure the safety of aging commercial aircraft.

GAO found that FAA: (1) sponsored a June 1988 international conference on aging aircraft after an accident involving an aging aircraft's structural failure; (2) and the airline industry initiated many promising actions to respond to conference recommendations and hosted a second conference to discuss those actions; (3) lacked a comprehensive plan for coordinating and evaluating initiatives to ensure participants' awareness of all activities and facilitate oversight of joint initiatives; and (4) could use its resources more effectively by developing hands-on aircraft inspection approaches to supplement paperwork reviews of maintenance records, analyzing trend data on aircraft maintenance and repair, and assessing the impact of the potential capacity shortage in the aircraft repair industry on the FAA inspection work force.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FAA developed a plan that describes industry and government actions under way to meet the aging aircraft challenge. FAA finalized the plan in May 1994 when the FAA Administrator signed it.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to develop a plan describing present and anticipated actions to meet the aging aircraft challenge, their time frames, and the resources necessary to complete those actions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FAA says that, after the plan is complete, it will use various means to keep Congress apprised of its progress. The plan was signed by the FAA Administrator in May 1994.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to report periodically to Congress on the progress toward accomplishing the plan's goals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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