GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) efforts to improve its monitoring of airlines' compliance with maintenance rules for aging aircraft, focusing on: (1) changes in airlines' aging aircraft maintenance strategies; (2) FAA use of a centralized database to monitor airline compliance; and (3) the effectiveness of FAA inspection initiatives to monitor the aging aircraft fleet.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Transportation||1. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to promptly develop, with assistance from the U.S. airline community, a means to collect detailed aging aircraft AD compliance information on a regular basis and report the status of the fleet to FAA headquarters. FAA headquarters officials would then be able to identify problem areas and target inspection resources accordingly.|
|Department of Transportation||2. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to clarify guidance directing inspectors to report complete inspection results using the program tracking and reporting subsystem, including the type of AD verified during an inspection, so that FAA management can more clearly determine which AD its inspectors are checking.|
|Department of Transportation||3. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, in scheduling NASIP inspections with aging aircraft component, to ensure that an aging aircraft is available during the review and that a hands-on, nose-to-tail examination of an aging aircraft is performed.|
|Department of Transportation||4. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to revise the guidance for the structural spot inspections so that inspectors are required to achieve a minimum level of inspections on aging aircraft undergoing some specific aging aircraft-related maintenance, repair, or modification.|