FAA Takes More Cooperative Approach to Aviation Safety

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta today announced the agency’s new “compliance philosophy to enhance our ability to find safety problems before they result in an incident or accident, use the best tools to fix those problems and then monitor the situation to ensure that no new problems develop.” Outlining the new plan this morning at a Flight Safety Foundation event in Washington, D.C., he said the approach recognizes that most operators comply with the rules and use safety management systems to identify hazards and put measures in place to mitigate the risks.

“The compliance philosophy challenges the status quo,” Huerta noted. “The FAA wants safe operators, not operators who inadvertently make a mistake and then hide it because they’re afraid they will be punished. Based on cooperation and trust, [the new philosophy] encourages an open and transparent exchange of information and data between the FAA and industry.”

The Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) successfully used this approach to reduce the risk in U.S. commercial aviation by 83 percent over 10 years, according to Huerta. However, he said the FAA will continue to have zero tolerance for intentional reckless behavior, inappropriate risk-taking, repeat failures, falsification, failure to fulfill commitments or deviation from regulatory standards. In these cases, the agency will continue to pursue enforcement action.