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Thu, Sep 21, 2023

Audit Initiated of FAA Oversight of SkyWest Maintenance Program

DOT Inspector General Issues Notice of Audit

On 14 September 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General forwarded a memorandum comprising an audit announcement pertaining to the FAA’s oversight of SkyWest Airlines’ maintenance program. Subject memo, as penned by DOT Assistant Inspector General for Aviation Audits Nelda Z. Smith read:

Aviation safety—the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) top priority—includes oversight of commercial passenger carriers’ safety programs. According to FAA regulations, each airline must establish and maintain a safety management system—a formal, top-down focus on managing safety risks. Using this approach, FAA and air carriers identify hazards and implement corrective actions that mitigate risk. For example, air carriers must identify root causes for hazards and proactively manage risk to prevent accidents. In previous audits, we uncovered weaknesses in FAA’s oversight of maintenance at Allegiant Air, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines.2 However, similar concerns have been raised about FAA’s safety oversight of air carrier maintenance at SkyWest Airlines—including the Agency’s relationship with the airline over regulatory compliance matters.

“Based on our preliminary data analysis and FAA safety information related to these concerns, we are initiating this audit. Our objective will be to assess FAA’s oversight of SkyWest Airlines maintenance practices. Specifically, we will evaluate FAA’s actions to address SkyWest’s maintenance non-compliances and violations. We will conduct our audit work at FAA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and at the FAA office responsible for oversight of the carrier. We will also visit SkyWest’s headquarters in St. George, UT, and its maintenance hub in Salt Lake City.

“We plan to begin the audit later this month and will contact your audit liaison to schedule an entrance conference. If you have any questions, please contact me or Tina B. Nysted, Program Director.

The memorandum was copied to DOT Audit Liaison, M-1, and FAA Audit Liaison, AAE-100.

FMI: www.oig.dot.gov

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