U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters Announces New Steps to Improve FAA's Aviation Safety Program

An independent review team provides 13 recommended improvements to FAA safety programs.

ACCEPTED – FAA’s ongoing review of AD compliance will address information dissemination and carrier requests among others. The full AD review program will be implemented by December 30, 2008.

Recommendation 3: The FAA’s Voluntary Programs are vitally important to the future of aviation safety, and should be retained. [Main report paragraph 5.1]

ACCEPTED – The FAA will continue to enhance its Voluntary Disclosure Programs.

Recommendation 4: The FAA must abide by the rules circumscribing these programs in order to prevent the erosion of compliance.

ACCEPTED – The FAA will immediately reinforce the importance of these rules and require higher-level management review of all disclosures.

Recommendation 5: Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program (VDRP) data have not been routinely analyzed at a higher level within the FAA. There are two quite different purposes for such analysis, both of which the FAA should formally recognize.

ACCEPTED – Data from many sources can be used to make sure these programs are operating effectively. The FAA will immediately begin implementation of a program to gather and analyze this data.

Recommendation 6: The number of voluntary disclosures made by a regulated entity is a composite measure, and should not be used either as a performance metric or as a risk-factor, in any context.

ACCEPTED – The FAA will review its risk assessment tools and eliminate areas where there is an incentive to drive down the number of disclosures. This review will be completed and implemented by December 30, 2008.

Recommendation 7: It is clear to the IRT that participation in all of the voluntary disclosure programs is dependent on the assurance of confidentiality for information submitted. The IRT believes the FAA should resist any efforts to relax or eliminate any restrictions on disclosure.

ACCEPTED – This is fundamental to the future of these programs and FAA will stress the importance with all constituencies.

Recommendation 8: The FAA should explicitly focus on wide divergences in regulatory ideologies, where they exist, as a source for potentially serious error.

ACCEPTED – To be implemented by December 30, 2008.

Recommendation 9: Training for Managers and Principal Inspectors should explicitly cover the management of contrasting regulatory views within the workforce, methods for moderating extremes in regulatory style, and methods for optimizing the regulatory effectiveness and coherence across a diverse team of inspectors.

ACCEPTED – To be implemented by March 31, 2009.

Recommendation 10: The FAA should deploy the Internal Assistance Capability (IAC), recently established, to review the composition and conduct of any offices or teams identified under recommendation one above.

ACCEPTED – To be implemented by June 30, 2009.

Recommendation 11: The FAA should also deploy the IAC on a routine basis to review the culture and conduct of any CMO where the managerial team has remained intact for more than three years.

ACCEPTED – To be implemented by September 30, 2009.

Recommendation 12: The IRT would urge the FAA to embrace its own operational role in risk identification and risk mitigation as formally and energetically as it has embraced its role in overseeing industry’s SMS implementations; and to expedite its implementation planning in this area.

ACCEPTED – The FAA will develop and implement its own internal safety management system before the end of 2010.

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