FAA Safety Oversight of Maintenance in Question Again

In an announcement last week, the Office of the Inspector General said it will adjust the scope of their original audit of air carrier maintenance from June 2017. The announcement said their initial audit work and additional congressional requests spurred the action.

They said the objectives are now “to assess FAA’s processes for investigating allegations of improper maintenance practices at two carriers, Allegiant Airlines and American Airlines.” They will examine FAA’s independent reviews, complaints to the FAA hotline, and other sources to see whether inspectors conducting routine surveillance of Allegiant and American Airlines found similar discrepancies. They will also try to determine whether FAA ensures that Alleg

iant and American Airlines have implemented effective corrective actions to address the root causes of maintenance problems.

The original audit was initiated after “allegations that mechanics have been forced to shortcut repairs to aircraft as well as emergency landings and aborted takeoffs caused by mechanical problems.” The original audit also asked whether FAA was demonstrating a “sustained ability to account for mergers, rapid expansion, cost cutting, and other factors that could affect air carriers’ decisions about maintenance.” The Congress members who requested the audit were particularly concerned about whether corrective actions taken by air carriers actually address root causes of maintenance lapses.