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Report Criticizes FAA's Oversight Of Repair Stations

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Nearly 4,800 repair stations around the world provide aircraft repair services to U.S. carriers, and the FAA is not doing enough to oversee them, the Transportation Department Office of Inspector General said on Monday. "We found that while FAA developed a risk-assessment process to aid repair station inspectors in identifying areas of greatest concern, its oversight continues to emphasize completing mandatory inspections instead of targeting resources where they are needed based on risk," according to the OIG report. Inspectors visited 27 repair stations during the review and said they found "numerous systemic discrepancies."

Foreign repair stations are not inspected using a risk-based system, the report says. Also, the FAA's oversight of foreign and domestic repair stations "lacks effective, standardized processes for identifying deficiencies and verifying that they have been addressed." The FAA agreed with all nine of the report's recommendations. A new oversight system -- the Safety Assurance System -- is in the works and will be implemented starting in the summer of 2015, the FAA said. Christian Klein, a spokesman for the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, which represents aviation maintenance and manufacturing companies, said, "shortcomings" at the FAA don't translate into safety deficiencies in the industry. "Regardless of whether or not regulators are looking over their shoulders, our members have an overwhelming business incentive to achieve the highest levels of safety possible," Klein said. The full report is posted at the OIG website.

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