To enhance safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the aviation industry use data to proactively detect risks and implement mitigation strategies before accidents and incidents occur. Since 2007, FAA’s Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program has drawn together a wide variety of safety data and information across government and industry to identify emerging, systemic safety issues.
In 2013, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Transportation reported that FAA had made progress implementing ASIAS, but the system lacked advanced capabilities, and aviation safety inspectors’ access to ASIAS confidential data remained limited.
Now, OIG’s follow-up review has found that FAA has made progress in implementing ASIAS since the 2013 review, but work remains to improve the program. For example, by September 2020, ASIAS grew to include data from 41 airlines, which according to FAA represents 99 percent of air carrier operations. However, OIG found FAA has not yet established a robust process for prioritizing analysis requests. FAA plans to make incremental enhancements to ASIAS, but OIG’s review found it does not expect to fully integrate predictive capabilities until 2025.
In addition, while FAA provides some ASIAS information to aviation safety inspectors, it does not provide access to national trend information that could improve their safety oversight. Further, inspectors do not widely use non-confidential ASIAS data for air carrier oversight due to the lack of guidance and the existing availability of similar data through other FAA databases.
OIG made three recommendations to improve FAA’s ability to better prioritize ASIAS efforts, provide improved data to aviation inspectors, and communicate the intended use and benefits of non-confidential ASIAS data. FAA plans to implement all recommendations by June 30, 2022 with some action being complete by August 31, 2021.