FAA Safety Program Riddled With Holes

Airplane maintenance not rigorously checked by FAA
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2010 5:40 PM CST
This photo illustration made available on Aug. 11, 2010, by United Airlines and Continental Airlines shows changes to the visual branding for the new global airline.   (AP Photo/United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Tammy Bryngelson, file)

(Newser) – An FAA program designed to ensure safe practices at US airlines has lapses that could cost travelers their lives, the AP reports. A report by the Department of Transportation's inspector general found that the oversight program was riddled with holes—the most glaring lapse being in the program's review of overall maintenance policies and procedures. That review, and associated recommendations, is supposed to be conducted every five years. But it has been delayed at eight major carriers, in some cases for up to eight years.

"Cracks in the oversight program can prove deadly," says former NTSB Chair Jim Hall. "Despite annual reports of deficiencies there doesn't seem to be improvement." Even so, an FAA spokesperson says the problems have been addressed. The need for such a program is even greater as time goes on because the fleets of all major airlines are aging, and need more maintenance. Click to read more about the problems with the oversight program.

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