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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) progress in developing new regulations governing airlines' ground operations during icing conditions.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. To improve the safety of airlines' ground operations during icing conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to amend the final interim regulations to require that, if the holdover time has expired, the critical surfaces for all aircraft be: (1) closely inspected from outside; or (2) deiced.
Closed - Not Implemented
FAA believes that its interim final regulations, in combination with required additional training for ground personnel, are sufficient to ensure that aircraft are free of ice before takeoff.
Department of Transportation 2. To improve the safety of airlines' ground operations during icing conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to strengthen the existing regulations governing commuter airlines to ensure that their aircraft are free of ice on takeoff.
Closed - Implemented
FAA decided to strengthen its existing regulations governing Part 135 deicing regulations. The interim final rule was issued in December 1993. The final rule is being drafted and will be issued during FY 1995.
Department of Transportation 3. To improve the safety of airlines' ground operations during icing conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to develop a method to determine whether airline pilots and ground personnel have received and understood the initial training material explaining their responsibilities and develop more specific guidelines for monitoring the implementation of the regulations this winter.
Closed - Implemented
FAA established a special surveillance program for the first winter season. Of the 1,800 comments received from inspectors, only 25 noted less-than-satisfactory compliance with the new regulations.

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