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Wed Oct 2, 2013, 10:48 PM

FAA Inspector furlough violates treaty [View all]

Source: Forbes

Furloughing FAA Inspectors And NTSB Investigators May Violate International Aviation Treaty


FAA’s furlough of 3,000 aviation safety inspectors and NTSB’s furlough of its accident investigators may put the United States in default of its treaty obligations under the Chicago Convention and the obligations of member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization. The Chicago Convention is the main aviation treaty setting the standards for air safety among the 192 contracting states of ICAO, an agency of the United Nations. Violating its treaty obligations could have significant repercussions for US airlines if the inspectors and investigators are not immediately put back to work.

ICAO requires that the US have a system for insuring that all aircraft operating over its territory regardless of country of registry, and all US-registered aircraft wherever they operate, comply with applicable safety regulations. The FAA’s system requires adequate numbers of aviation safety inspectors. According to Loretta Alkalay, the FAA’s former top lawyer in NY, “it’s hard to imagine that the FAA can meet its ICAO obligations without 3000 inspectors. After all, it’s impossible to perform required surveillance and oversight functions without inspectors.”

In addition to safety oversight, the US is required by ICAO to insure that persons who violate air safety regulations are prosecuted. It is these furloughed inspectors whose job it is to investigate and prepare violations of the federal aviation regulations for prosecution by the FAA’s lawyers (who are also largely furloughed by the government shutdown). The US is also required by ICAO to conduct accident and incident investigations. Furloughing NTSB accident investigators could run afoul of this requirement.

Failure to comply with ICAO standards could have repercussions for US airlines. After all, the US has aggressively audited the Civil Aviation Authorities of ICAO member states. If a country’s CAA does not meet minimum standards, airline operations from that country to the US are limited and no new entrants are allowed. Among the areas looked at by the FAA in its audits of foreign countries is whether the CAAs have adequate infrastructure to insure proper compliance with safety requirements – that infrastructure includes adequate and properly qualified personnel. Calls to the FAA for comment were not returned.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoglia/2013/10/02/furloughing-faa-inspectors-and-ntsb-investigators-may-violate-international-aviation-treaty/



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No one is watching the airline industry.

Checks and balances are all gone .

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