The U.S. commercial aviation industry has an extraordinary safety record. However, when passenger airlines have accidents or serious incidents, regardless of their rarity, the consequences can be tragic. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) works to maintain a high level of safety through an effective safety oversight system. Keys to this system are to: (1) establish programs that focus resources on areas of highest safety risk and on mitigating risks; (2) provide training and communication to ensure that inspectors can consistently carry out the agency's oversight programs; and (3) have processes and data to continuously monitor, evaluate, and improve the numerous oversight programs that make up the safety oversight system. This statement focuses on these three key areas and is based on recent GAO reports on FAA's inspection oversight programs, industry partnership programs, enforcement program, and training program.
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