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FAA Needs To Do A Better Job With Aircraft Repair Station Oversight In The EU

July 29, 2015 - DOT's Office Of Inspector General's report indicated the FAA needs to implement greater oversight on European Union (EU) aircraft repair facilities.

As international air service expands, U.S. air carriers increasingly rely on foreign repair stations to meet their maintenance needs. Currently, more than 400 FAA-certificated repair stations in Europe perform work on U.S. registered aircraft and components.

To avoid duplicative oversight, the United States and the European Union signed an aviation safety agreement on May 1, 2011, to permit foreign authority safety inspectors to inspect EU repair stations on the behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


While the FAA met the agreement’s deadline to transfer its oversight responsibilities to foreign aviation authorities, it did so without ensuring that the authorities were fully prepared to accept their new roles. In addition, the FAA did not follow its processes to assess foreign authority capabilities or ensure that these authorities completed their initial training on the agreement prior to the transfer. Training, procedural, and data weaknesses further hinder FAA’s ability to monitor EU repair stations. 

The FAA did not train its inspectors on how to conduct inspections on foreign authorities or provide them with written guidance on how to complete new inspection forms, leading to inaccurate reporting and insufficient information needed to ensure that FAA standards are being met. The FAA concurred with DOT's recommendations to enhance the Agency’s oversight of repair stations, citing plans to revise its guidance to provide more comprehensive and standardized procedures for repair station oversight. All recommendations will remain open and unresolved until DOT receives the FAA’s detailed response.


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