FAA Use Of Designees Under Microscope

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The General Accounting Office will investigate the FAA's practice of using private contractors and designees to inspect and certify airlines' planes and aircraft alterations, USA Today reported Monday. The probe was requested last week by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) of the House Aviation Subcommittee, who asked the GAO to study the FAA's inspection designee program. DeFazio cited several recent reports that raised questions about the number of designees -- more than 20,000 -- and the FAA's oversight of the program. DeFazio asked the GAO to determine how large the designee programs are and what activities they perform; what the FAA's procedures are for hiring, overseeing and removing designees; and whether the FAA has plans in place to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of its designee programs. DeFazio also asked the GAO to check into how the FAA manages its enforcement options for the airlines, such as warnings, fines, and suspension or revocation of operating certificates.