Are U.S. aviation safety ratings of foreign countries meaningless?
U.S. air carriers will be prohibited from employing former FAA safety inspectors for a two-year period by terms of a final rule that takes effect October 21. The new FAA rule is a byproduct of an incident in which inspectors overseeing Southwest Airlines were found to be too friendly with the airline.
The National Air Disaster Alliance/Foundation (NADA/F) has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to compel Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to order the FAA to implement safety recommendations from the NTSB concerning runway safety and flight-in-icing conditions.
In recent months, Congressional leaders have held pre-election hearings on a number of aviation issues. So far, these gatherings have made a lot of headlines but produced little in the way of tangible results.
The last few months have been difficult for a number of aviation players. First, there were several whistleblower complaints from FAA aviation safety inspectors who risked their futures to make serious allegations against their management in the southwest region. These allegations had been under investigation for some time when the U.S. Congress decided to hold hearings and have FAA senior management respond to them in a public forum.
The FAA has been under intense pressure from the U.S. Congress of late, and some believe that the reaction to Congressional pressure to tighten up FAA oversight of the aviation industry is a direct cause of the thousands of airline groundings last month.