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Air Safety Net Flawed, U.S. Agency Finds

April 11, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A new airline safety system created after the 1996 ValuJet crash lacks well-trained inspectors and a timetable to expand the program to all carriers, the Transportation Department inspector general said Wednesday.

The inspector general's report said the Federal Aviation Administration has made some progress in setting up its Air Transportation Oversight System, designed to focus on areas found to have safety problems rather than on making sure airlines follow regulations.

The system began in 1998, two years after a ValuJet DC-9 crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 people on board. The National Transportation Safety Board said a lack of FAA oversight was partly to blame for the crash.

The report said FAA inspectors have received minimal training. Many inspectors are located far from the airline maintenance bases they are supposed to oversee, and some had no training in the kinds of airplanes they were supposed to check, the inspector general said.

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