Amid one of the busiest U.S. travel periods of the year, a new report suggests that the Federal Aviation Administration may be asleep at the controls.
The report from the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation slams the FAA for insufficient safety oversight of airlines operating in American skies, saying that the slowness of its inspection system has allowed hundreds of planes to fly without receiving the proper maintenance checks.
For instance, between 2005 and 2009, the FAA failed to carry out 340 safety checkups at the nation’s eight largest airlines in a timely manner.
According to the report, safety inspectors also fail to do enough to take into account all available information, such as airlines’ own voluntary disclosures, in their assessments of different carriers.
The report, issued earlier this month, outlined recommendations to ensure the safety of the American air fleet, including greater training for inspectors and a revamped risk assessment program. The FAA, in its response, concurred entirely or in part with all seven of the report’s recommendations.
Separately, The Wall Street Journal reports that the FAA is proposing fixes for midair collision avoidance devices used by nearly 9,000 airplanes operating in the U.S. The FAA says it discovered that the systems failed to properly keep track of all nearby planes during a test flight.