DOT IG Wants More Third-party Maintainer Oversight
Following a congressionally ordered probe of outsourced aircraft maintenance by the DOT Inspector General, the FAA and air carriers were put on notice to improve their oversight of the 4,159 domestic and 709 foreign repair stations certified by the FAA to perform maintenance on U.S. aircraft. “Our work on outsourced maintenance has continually found that the issue is not where maintenance is performed, but that [such] maintenance requires effective oversight,” the Office of Inspector General (OIG) said. It recommended that in addition to the FAA’s own inspections, FAA inspectors must ensure that air carriers and repair stations have strong audit systems to correct identified deficiencies because the agency relies heavily on air carriers’ oversight of the maintenance done on their aircraft. According to the OIG, nine major air carriers sent 71 percent of their heavy airframe maintenance checks to repair stations last year, up from only 34 percent in 2003.