Audit of FAA reveals agency needs to keep up with regional airline industry

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently conducted an audit of the Federal Aviation Industry (FAA), which evaluated how the FAA has adjusted its oversight to respond to consolidations and other changes in the regional airline industry since 2009.

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The audit also evaluated the FAA’s process for identifying periods of transition and growth.

Regional air carriers of flights to cities unable to support major airlines. They account for more than 40 percent of commercial flights.

The OIG found the FAA’s air-carrier-risk-evaluation tools are confusing and subjective and limit the agency’s ability to be proactive. The FAA also has not used the tool for detecting potential financial problems because it is unclear of the information needed to evaluate regional carriers.

The OIG also found that the FAA does not adjust air carrier surveillance because its risk assessment tools are ineffective. Even when guidance was given, it was vague, and the oversight system relies heavily on inspector judgment.

The OIG made 10 recommendations for improving the FAA’s risk assessment tools, how it shares data between offices and guidance for how inspectors should handle anonymous complaints.

The audit was requested by the ranking members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Subcommittee on Aviation.