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    Subject Term: "Commercial aviation"

    9 publications with a total of 24 open recommendations
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help FAA better manage and oversee its portfolio of R&D activities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA to take a more strategic approach to identifying research priorities across the agency, including developing guidance to identify long-term priorities and emerging issue areas, as part of FAA's portfolio development process.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, FAA officials said they were redesigning the agency?s National Aviation Research Plan (NARP) to, among other things, better align research to agency outcomes. FAA officials said that the redesigned NARP will provide the agency a strategic view of R&D and a better understanding of the driving forces for research, such as longer term strategic needs and emerging issues. The officials also said that the redesigned NARP will allow for a more effective framework from which to prioritize research. FAA plans to finalize the redesign of the NARP by February 2019.
    Recommendation: To help FAA better manage and oversee its portfolio of R&D activities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA to clarify its portfolio development guidance to call for each Program Planning Teams to disclose the process it used for prioritizing and selecting research projects so that decision-making is more transparent for FAA management.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, FAA officials said they were developing guidance that will require the Program Planning Teams to identify and document their process for prioritizing and selecting research projects. FAA plans to finalize the guidance by November 2017.
    Recommendation: To help FAA better manage and oversee its portfolio of R&D activities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA to develop guidance to ensure that future National Aviation Research Plans (NARP) and R&D Annual Reviews meet statutory requirements to the extent practicable, including (a) The NARP lists activities that are carried under cooperative agreements. (b) The NARP describes the rationale for the prioritized research programs. (c) The NARP identifies how resources were allocated for long-term and near-term research. (d) The NARP identifies REDAC recommendations that are accepted, not accepted, and the reasons for non-acceptance. (e) The NARP provides a detailed description of technology transfer to government, industry, and academia. (f) The Annual Review describes new technologies developed and the dissemination of research results to the private sector. (g) The Annual Review allows a comparison to the NARP. (h) The Annual Review is prepared and presented in accordance with agency performance reporting requirements.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, FAA officials said they were redesigning the National Aviation Research Plan (NARP) and R&D Annual Review to include, among other things, information required by statute. FAA plans to finalize the redesign of the NARP and Annual Review by February 2019.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the government is not exposed to more liability risk than intended, the Secretary of Transportation should ensure that the FAA Administrator prioritizes the development of a plan to address the identified weakness in the cost-of-casualty amount, including setting time frames for action, and update the amount based on current information.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation agreed with the recommendation. As of May 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to seek feedback from the commercial space and insurance industries to obtain views on an appropriate cost-of-casualty amount and implications of any changes. After receiving this input, FAA will determine whether to modify the cost-of-casualty amount and initiate action. We will continue to monitor FAA's actions in response to this recommendation.
    Director: Cackley, Alicia P
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure spaceport operators' understanding of FAA's financial responsibility regulations for commercial space launches, the Secretary of Transportation should ensure that the FAA Administrator provides additional communication to clarify FAA's interpretation of the financial responsibility regulations for commercial space launches. The forms of communication could include, among other things, issuing additional guidance or using other forums to clarify when a spaceport operator is a third party to a launch and when it is not.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Jenny Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of air marshal training, the TSA Administrator should direct OTD to implement a mechanism for regularly collecting and incorporating incumbent air marshals' feedback on the training they receive from field office programs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of air marshal training, the TSA Administrator should direct OTD to take additional steps to improve the response rates of the training surveys it conducts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that air marshals are complying with recurrent training requirements and have the capability to carry out FAMS's mission, the TSA Administrator should direct FAMS to specify in policy who at the headquarters level has oversight responsibility for ensuring that field office Supervisory Air Marshals-in-Charge or their designees meet their responsibilities for ensuring that training completion records are entered in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that air marshals are complying with recurrent training requirements and have the capability to carry out FAMS's mission, the TSA Administrator should direct FAMS to specify in policy who at the headquarters level is responsible for ensuring that headquarters personnel enter approved air marshals' training exemptions into the Federal Air Marshal Information System, and define the timeframe for doing so.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that air marshals are complying with recurrent training requirements and have the capability to carry out FAMS's mission, the TSA Administrator should direct FAMS to develop and implement standardized methods, such as examinations and checklists, for determining whether incumbent air marshals continue to be mission ready in key skills.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-28334

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's risk-based approach for oversight of repair stations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to develop and implement a process in Flight Standards for incorporating into SAS the volume of critical maintenance that each U.S. airline contracts to repair stations.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA did not concur with this recommendation. In July 2017, GAO confirmed that FAA does not plan to implement the recommendation because the agency believes the subjective nature of volume of work makes it an ineffective risk indicator. While FAA does not specifically assess volume of work as a primary factor in determining risk at repair stations, the agency does monitor many risks factors as primary risk indicators. Many of these risk indicators are associated with important aspects of work volume such as high workforce turnover; changes in management; rapid growth or downsizing; changes in aircraft complexity/programs; financial conditions; age of fleet and increases in aircraft discrepancies. FAA considers these factors and the criticality of a specific maintenance action on the safe operation of an aircraft to be primary risk indicators.
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's risk-based approach for oversight of repair stations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to develop and implement an evaluative process with measurable performance goals and measures to determine the effectiveness of SAS as the SMS safety assurance component.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, GAO confirmed that FAA plans to develop overall program goals and metrics as part of the next implementation phase of its new Safety Assurance System. These metrics are expected to be fully developed based on the final design of the new system and the program requirements identified, which is scheduled to be completed in December 2017.
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure TSA's actions in overseeing and facilitating airport security are based on the most recent available risk information that assesses vulnerabilities system-wide and evaluates security events, and that these actions are orchestrated according to a strategic plan that reflects the agency's goals and objectives and its progress in meeting those goals, the Administrator of TSA should update the Risk Assessment of Airport Security to reflect changes to its risk environment, such as those updates reflected in Transportation Sector Security Risk Assessment (TSSRA) and JVA findings, and share results of this risk assessment with stakeholders on an ongoing basis.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure TSA's actions in overseeing and facilitating airport security are based on the most recent available risk information that assesses vulnerabilities system-wide and evaluates security events, and that these actions are orchestrated according to a strategic plan that reflects the agency's goals and objectives and its progress in meeting those goals, the Administrator of TSA should establish and implement a process for determining when additional risk assessment updates are needed.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure TSA's actions in overseeing and facilitating airport security are based on the most recent available risk information that assesses vulnerabilities system-wide and evaluates security events, and that these actions are orchestrated according to a strategic plan that reflects the agency's goals and objectives and its progress in meeting those goals, the Administrator of TSA should develop and implement a method for conducting a system-wide assessment of airport vulnerability that will provide a more comprehensive understanding of airport perimeter and access control security vulnerabilities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure TSA's actions in overseeing and facilitating airport security are based on the most recent available risk information that assesses vulnerabilities system-wide and evaluates security events, and that these actions are orchestrated according to a strategic plan that reflects the agency's goals and objectives and its progress in meeting those goals, the Administrator of TSA should use security event data for specific analysis of system-wide trends related to perimeter and access control security to better inform risk management decisions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure TSA's actions in overseeing and facilitating airport security are based on the most recent available risk information that assesses vulnerabilities system-wide and evaluates security events, and that these actions are orchestrated according to a strategic plan that reflects the agency's goals and objectives and its progress in meeting those goals, the Administrator of TSA should update the 2012 Strategy for airport security to reflect changes in risk assessments, agency operations, and the status of goals and objectives. Specifically, this update should reflect: (1) information from the Risk Assessment of Airport Security, as well as information contained in the most recent TSSRA and JVAs; (2) new airport security-related activities; (3) the status of TSA efforts to address goals and objectives; and (4) finalized outcome-based performance measures and performance levels--or targets--for each relevant activity and strategic goal.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure TSA's actions in overseeing and facilitating airport security are based on the most recent available risk information that assesses vulnerabilities system-wide and evaluates security events, and that these actions are orchestrated according to a strategic plan that reflects the agency's goals and objectives and its progress in meeting those goals, the Administrator of TSA should establish and implement a process for determining when additional updates to the Strategy are needed.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the accuracy of its Senior Federal Official Travel Reports, the Administrator of GSA should collect additional information from agencies on instances where travel is not being reported because of an exemption for intelligence agencies, as opposed to some other reason, and include such information in its reports where departmental data do not include trips pursuant to an agency's exercise of a reporting exemption.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-4803

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the transparency of information on airline-imposed fees and government-imposed taxes and fees for consumers and improve airlines' reporting of fee revenues to the Department of Transportation, the Secretary of Transportation should improve the disclosure of baggage fees and policies to passengers, in accordance with DOT guidance, by requiring that U.S. airlines and foreign airlines that fly within or to or from the United States disclose baggage fees and policies along with fare information such that this information can be consistently disclosed across all distribution channels used by the airline.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: A DOT rulemaking (RIN-2105-AE56: Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees) is ongoing and could address this recommendation. As of June 2017, the final rule is expected to be published in late 2017/early 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve the transparency of information on airline-imposed fees and government-imposed taxes and fees for consumers and improve airlines' reporting of fee revenues to the Department of Transportation, the Secretary of Transportation should require U.S. passenger airlines to report to DOT all optional fees paid by passengers related to their trip in a separate account, exclusive of baggage fees and reservation change and cancellation fees.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: A DOT rulemaking (RIN-2105-AE56: Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees) is ongoing and could address this recommendation. As of June 2017, the final rule is expected to be published in late 2017/early 2018.
    Recommendation: If Congress determines that the benefit of added revenue to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund from taxation of optional airline service fees, such as baggage fees, is of importance, then it may wish to consider amending the Internal Revenue Code to make mandatory the taxation of certain or all airline imposed fees and to require that the revenue be deposited in the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, Congress has not yet taken action regarding this matter. While amendments have been offered to change the tax treatment of airline fees, none of these amendments have been passed into law. We will continue to monitor this matter and will provide updated information.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Because of the importance of the successful planning and implementation of NGATS and the need for effective collaboration between diverse organizations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct JPDO to better ensure the involvement of all key stakeholders in the NGATS planning process, by determining whether key stakeholders and expertise are not represented on JPDO's integrated product teams, divisions, or elsewhere within its organization. For example, JPDO should consider the addition of active, subject matter expert air traffic controllers to its integrated product teams.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In multiple reports and testimonies on Air Traffic Control Modernization and subsequently the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) GAO has reported that a lack of stakeholder or expert involvement early and throughout a project can lead to cost increases and delays. We also found that the Joint Planning and Development Office within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had not adequately involved air traffic controllers or the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) in NextGen planning efforts, and have since reported on challenges facing FAA in involving controllers and other stakeholders as they begin to implement various NextGen improvements. GAO recommended that the Secretary of Transportation consider various actions to better ensure the involvement of all key stakeholders in planning and implementing NextGen and specifically recommended further involvement of active, subject matter expert air traffic controllers. Article 114 of the recently signed contract between the FAA and NATCA addresses this recommendation by directing full participation by NATCA to further the development and implementation of NextGen. The specifics of the agreement between FAA and NATCA regarding how and in what manner controllers will be included has yet to be determined, but the inclusion of Article 114 is a step in the right direction to ensuring active involvement. With greater active participation from air traffic controllers and NATCA, issues that cause cost increase and delays can be identified earlier and their effects mitigated.
    Recommendation: Given the technical complexity of the implementation of NGATS and FAA's past experiences, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA to undertake a formal exploration of FAA's strengths and weaknesses with regard to the technical expertise and contract management expertise that will be required to define, implement, and integrate the numerous complex programs and systems inherent in the transition to NGATS. For example, FAA should work to determine whether it will need to contract with an LSI, federally-funded not-for-profit corporation, or other technical or managerial entity to assist in the implementation of NGATS.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the Vice President for Planning, FAA, on June 13, 2007, FAA awarded a contract to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to do an independent assessment of FAA's technical and program management (i.e., contract management) skills required for NextGen implementation. The Vice President directly attributed FAA's ability to move the contract award to GAO's recommendation.