Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed oversight of the air taxi industry, focusing on: (1) the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) level of inspection effort for air taxis; and (2) the Office of the Secretary of Transportation's (OST) economic fitness standards as applied to air taxis.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|Congress may wish to consider whether air taxis' exemption from OST certification and economic fitness review remains appropriate in light of air taxis' poorer safety record. Furthermore, if the Secretary does not perform the recommended study, Congress may wish to mandate that it be done.||Congress has not indicated whether it will require DOT to undertake the recommended study.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Transportation||1. To improve oversight of the air taxi industry, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to perform: (1) a minimum level of required inspections; and (2) periodic, industry-wide special inspections.|
|Federal Aviation Administration||2. FAA should revise its inspector handbook to provide guidance and procedures that would allow for special surveillance of any airline in financial distress.|
|Department of Transportation||3. The Secretary of Transportation should study the extent to which air taxi operators' financial distress and poor compliance attitude contribute to safety violations and report the result to the Congress.|