Air Pollution:

FAA's Reliance on Manufacturers for Jet Engine Emission Testing

RCED-94-99: Published: Jul 13, 1994. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) regulation of jet aircraft emissions, focusing on: (1) how FAA ensures that jet aircraft engines meet emission standards; and (2) what steps FAA and the manufacturers have taken to address the potential for conflict of interest in the designee system.

GAO found that: (1) FAA relies on aircraft manufacturers to perform emission testing and report the results; (2) FAA officials believe that there is little value in observing the tests conducted at the manufacturers' facilities, since compliance with emission standards is determined by sampling exhaust emissions; (3) FAA and the manufacturers acknowledge the potential for conflict of interest in the designee system and have taken steps to buffer designees from pressures that could compromise their oversight role; (4) FAA has a policy of appointing as designees manufacturer employees who have sufficient authority to bypass FAA requirements; and (5) manufacturers have aligned their organizational structure so that designees report to managers who are not directly responsible for designing and developing aircraft engines.

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