By ROBERT TAYLOR, Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — A federal watchdog’s report that the Federal Aviation Administration’s safety review of airlines is lacking is a sign that the agency is struggling to respond to the aviation industry’s most deadly incidents.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s report issued Monday was scathing about the FAA’s handling of safety issues after a string of deadly incidents at commercial and domestic flights in recent years.
It said the FAA is still far behind its international counterparts in dealing with incidents and is understaffed and underfunded.
Its latest recommendations include:Making sure airlines have trained pilots, trained flight attendants and trained flight operations managers and providing them with the information they need to maintain safe air travel.FAA officials have said the agency needs to recruit and retain more airline personnel and improve training for pilots, flight attendants, flight operations and crew members.
The agency also needs to improve oversight of its safety-related policies and practices.
The FAA’s Office of Inspector General said it will look at the report in detail and will report its findings to Congress in June.
It has also scheduled a public hearing for Sept. 23.
The NTSB found that the FAA lacked a system that could track the safety of the more than 3,200 commercial and charter flights it manages.
The FAA’s chief pilot, David T. Schulkin, said in a statement the agency needed to do more to better understand the risks to its pilots.
The agency has not been able to establish how many of its flights were caused by human error or by human-caused events such as pilot error, flightcrew errors or other factors.
The safety board said the problems with the FAA included inadequate training and pilot training programs.
The report said pilots are still not trained to recognize when their actions are causing the plane to spin out of control and the plane could fall out of the sky.
The report also found that safety officials did not have adequate training for all flight operations, and that the lack of training led to delays and mistakes.
The U.K.-based airline BA, which has had a safety-conscious culture since its inception, has had more than 600 safety-incident incidents, more than any other carrier, the report said.
BA’s average of 726 incidents per year was the most in the industry.
The airline has been among the top performers in the airline industry in safety over the last decade, the FAA said.