Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the safety performance of new airlines having 5 or fewer years of operating experience, focusing on: (1) the frequency with which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspects new airlines compared with its inspections of established airlines; and (2) FAA efforts to correct long-standing problems that limit the effectiveness of its safety inspection program.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Transportation||1. The Secretary of Transportation should instruct the Administrator, FAA, to closely monitor the performance of new airlines, particularly during the early years of operations, and conduct increased and/or comprehensive inspections of those new airlines that experience elevated rates of safety-related problems.|
|Department of Transportation||2. The Secretary of Transportation should instruct the Administrator, FAA, to evaluate the impact of recent budget reductions on FAA critical safety-related functions, including, but not limited to, inspector training, and report the results to Congress through the appropriations process.|
|Department of Transportation||3. The Secretary of Transportation should instruct the Administrator, FAA, to study the feasibility of developing measurable criteria for what constitutes aviation safety, including those airline-specific safety-related performance measures that could be published for use by the traveling public.|
|Department of Transportation||4. To ensure the timely and effective implementation of the recommendations included in the FAA 90-Day Safety Review, the Secretary of Transportation should require the Administrator, FAA, to establish: (1) clear goals and objectives addressing the safety review's identified problem areas; (2) measurable performance criteria to assess how the goals and objectives are being met; and (3) a monitoring, evaluation, and reporting system so that FAA implementation of the recommendations contained in the FAA 90-Day Safety Review can be reported to the Secretary and Congress on a regular basis.|
|Federal Aviation Administration||5. The Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board, and the Administrator, FAA, should establish a date for completing the ongoing reevaluation of the definition of accident.|
|National Transportation Safety Board||6. The Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board, and the Administrator, FAA, should establish a date for completing the ongoing reevaluation of the definition of accident.|