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Highlights

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal civilian agencies' aircraft operations to determine whether they are being managed efficiently and economically. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducts aircraft flight programs to keep pilots current.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to consider less costly alternatives, like interagency sharing and commercial service, before buying either the four Beechcraft King F-90's currently being leased or the new logistics aircraft.
Closed - Not Implemented
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has informed GAO that a decision has been made to purchase the four Beechcraft King F-90's. A decision has also been made to purchase the logistics aircraft based on a need for multipurpose aircraft to support the FAA fleet conversion program.
Department of Transportation 2. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to reduce the number of evaluation, currency, and transportation aircraft to only those necessary to meet valid program requirements.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 3. The Secretary of Transportation should issue a written policy generally prohibiting the carrying of spouses, other dependents, and other nonofficial travelers on FAA aircraft.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 4. The Secretary of Transportation should require the Office of the Inspector General to periodically review FAA aircraft request and use records and verify that aircraft are being used properly.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 5. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to revise FAA Order 4040.9A to incorporate the recommended DOT regulations and to strictly enforce them.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 6. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to require that FAA aircraft request and use records be filled out correctly and kept in accordance with the subject order.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 7. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to conduct an A-76 review of all evaluation, currency, and transportation and logistics mission aircraft to see whether the services they provide could be provided more economically by the private sector.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 8. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to comply with A-76, as required, when modernizing, replacing, upgrading, or enlarging its aircraft fleet and related services.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 9. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to adequately justify the reasons for each flight on agency aircraft by properly filling out the aircraft request and use records as required by FAA Order 4040.9A.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 10. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to establish criteria, guidelines, and procedures that require consistent and valid comparisons of the cost of transporting passengers on agency aircraft versus commercial airlines.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 11. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to require the use of commercial airlines, or other less costly means, to transport passengers when it is more economical and does not interfere with mission accomplishment.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 12. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to limit VIP transportation on FAA aircraft to the absolute minimum necessary and permit it only when: (1) commercial airlines cannot be used due to mission requirements; and (2) the government benefits justify the costs.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 13. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to require that the costs of transporting passengers be charged to the Transportation Appropriations account and, where passengers are transported with a bona fide mission, the cost of such transportation should be prorated between the appropriations accounts on an equitable basis.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOT stated that this was addressed by OMB, which chaired an Aircraft Policy Working Group in which DOT participated. OMB decided not to include the recommendation in Circular A-126 because such a policy would require major changes in its prescribed budget object classification accounts, which should only be made after a thorough impact study.
Department of Transportation 14. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to require that officials responsible for approving such flights be held accountable through their performance evaluations that these recommended practices are followed.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 15. The Secretary of Transportation should require the Administrator, FAA, to accurately determine evaluation, currency, and transportation flight program requirements by implementing FAA Orders 4040.9A and 4040.19 and ensure that flight program participants are limited to those that can be supported by the budget and programmed flight-hours.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 16. The Secretary of Transportation should require the Administrator, FAA, to accurately determine evaluation, currency, and transportation flight program requirements by implementing FAA Orders 4040.9A and 4040.19 and ensure that flight programs are developed and flight-hours are allocated so that each designated pilot may meet the program's currency requirements.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 17. The Secretary of Transportation should require the Administrator, FAA, to accurately determine evaluation, currency, and transportation flight program requirements by implementing FAA Orders 4040.9A and 4040.19 and ensure that pilots are removed from the program for failure to maintain the required level of currency or failure to meet minimum participation standards.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 18. The Secretary of Transportation should require the Administrator, FAA, to accurately determine evaluation, currency, and transportation flight program requirements by implementing FAA Orders 4040.9A and 4040.19 and ensure that each program pilot is authorized no more currency hours than necessary to meet minimum standards, as previously required by regulations.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 19. The Secretary of Transportation should require the Administrator, FAA, to accurately determine evaluation, currency, and transportation flight program requirements by implementing FAA Orders 4040.9A and 4040.19 and prohibit transportation flights from being justified for currency, unless they are necessary to meet minimum standards.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Transportation 20. The Secretary of Transportation should require the Administrator, FAA, to accurately determine evaluation, currency, and transportation flight program requirements by implementing FAA Orders 4040.9A and 4040.19 and reassess evaluation, currency, and transportation program pilot requirements to ensure that program pilots are in positions that require them to actually fly aboard aircraft as crew members.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

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