Inspector General’s Office Critical…


FAA Lax In Safety Inspections

As the hand-wringing (and finger-pointing) continues over future funding (or lack thereof) for the National Airspace System, other areas of the FAA are also feeling the pinch. Next to be red-flagged in a report by the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General’s office is airline safety inspections. With budget carriers sprouting across the country and many airlines on the financial ropes, the FAA has decided, due to financial constraints, not to replace about 200 inspectors who will retire or resign this year. There are now about 3,400 inspectors. DOT’s Assistant Inspector General David Dobbs claims inspectors aren’t doing the job properly at current staffing levels. “Adequate resources need to be committed to air carrier oversight to ensure the continuity of safe operations,” said the report. The report says 26 percent of scheduled inspections on five major carriers were not done last year. The deployment of the increasingly limited resources was also questioned. For instance, most airliner maintenance is done overnight but inspectors don’t, as a rule, work the graveyard shift. The report said inspectors spend 1 to 7 percent of their time on night inspections but the FAA said it’s more like 10 percent.