For Immediate Release

September 5, 2008
Contact: Les Dorr
Phone: (202) 267-3883

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors found an overall compliance rate of 98 percent in more than 5,600 audits of Airworthiness Directives (ADs) at U.S. air carriers, Acting Administrator Robert A. Sturgell announced today. In the remaining 2 percent of the audits, the carriers resolved the issues of noncompliance before the airplanes flew again.

“This audit gives us confidence that, overall, the system is safe and in almost every instance the airlines are complying with our safety directives,” Sturgell said.

“Even with this tremendous level of safety and compliance, we have work to do,” Sturgell added. “We’re focusing on the language of our directives to make sure they are clear, concise and unambiguous, and we’re working with industry to approve work in progress before the compliance date.”

Alleged noncompliance in the audits fell into five categories: instances where the air carrier could not show compliance with the AD; cases where additional records were needed to prove compliance; cases where the air carrier did the work, but had to apply for an alternate means of compliance approval; situations where the AD work was not done, but the airplane was not flying; other minor discrepancies not involving ADs. All noncompliance issues were corrected before the airplanes flew again, and the FAA is investigating to determine if enforcement actions are warranted.

Acting Administrator Sturgell also gave a progress report on new safety initiatives announced in April:

  • Safety Issues Reporting System — Complete
  • Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program Approvals — Complete
  • Ethics Policy Enhancement — In progress; proposed rule expected next summer
  • Aviation Safety and Analysis Sharing Program expansion — In progress
  • Independent Review Team — Complete; with Secretary Peters for review
  • Airworthiness Directive Review — In progress

Additional information on the audit results and safety initiatives is available at: