FAA needs to assess accuracy of staffing estimates, audit finds

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General recently conducted an audit and learned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) needs to assess the accuracy of its staffing model’s estimates.

Although the agency has taken steps to improve the model, it has yet to take action on the National Research Council’s three recommendations. The recommendations included developing performance measures.

The agency also has yet to implement two new models that would reflect organizational changes.

The audit was conducted to assess changes the FAA made to its inspector staffing model, review the assumptions and methodologies the model uses to predict the number of aviation safety inspectors the FAA needs, and determine how the model accounts for the use of designees.

The FAA uses an inspector staffing model to create annual forecasts for up to 10 fiscal years of inspector staffing levels. Inspectors perform work such as monitoring the work performed by individual and organizational designees, certifying the airworthiness of new aircraft, and
overseeing the maintenance practices of air carriers and other operators.

The Office of Inspector General made seven recommendations to improve the accuracy of FAA’s inspector staffing.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 directed the FAA to update its staffing model and the Office of Inspector General to conduct the audit.