NATA Airs Concern Over SAFOs

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The National Air Transportation Association has sent a letter to FAA Flight Standards Service Director James Ballough seeking clarification of the obligation that Safety Alerts for Operators (SAFOs) place on air carriers, a group that includes Part 135 operators. NATA said it supports the use of SAFOs to relay what FAA documents say are "recommended (nonregulatory) actions," but said the agency implies that "failure to adhere to the SAFO recommended actions could result in an FAA determination that operations are not in compliance with their obligations as certificated air carriers." In short, NATA believes the FAA should not imply that air carriers are unsafe because they do not follow SAFO-recommended actions. To ensure consistent and clear understanding by FAA employees, air carriers and the public, NATA requests that the FAA remove the following from any future SAFOs: "SAFO content should be especially valuable to air carriers in meeting their statutory duty to provide service with the highest possible degree of safety in the public interest." Additionally, Operations Specification A007 requires designation of a representative to receive all SAFOs, further reinforcing NATA's concern that these actions are perceived by some within the FAA as mandatory.