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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

GAO: FAA Should Evaluate Effectiveness of the International Validation Process

U.S. aviation companies, known for exporting billions of dollars worth of aviation products annually, face intricate approval processes involving both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and civil aviation authorities (CAA) of importing countries. Facilitated by bilateral agreements between the U.S. and the top five aviation export markets, these approvals hinge on the acceptance or validation of each other’s product certifications.

Implementing procedures for these agreements outline approval processes that vary based on the type and complexity of the aviation product. Notably, higher-risk products with new designs or technologies undergo detailed technical validations by CAAs. These validations entail an exhaustive review of product designs and other information to ensure compliance with the importing country’s regulations, safety standards, and environmental norms.

However, a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) review sheds light on challenges faced by U.S. aviation companies in this process. The GAO interviewed fourteen stakeholders who reported unpredictable validation time frames in recent years, attributing this to an increased demand for data from aviation manufacturers by CAAs. Contributing factors include a decline in trust in FAA certifications by foreign CAAs, particularly following the Boeing 737 MAX 8 accidents in 2018 and 2019. Stakeholders also highlighted challenges in obtaining FAA support, including dispute resolution with other countries’ CAAs, due to limited FAA staffing and resources.

In response to these challenges, the FAA has begun collecting more detailed information to enhance the management of international validations. This includes tracking the number of active validations by country. However, the FAA has yet to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the validation process. While the FAA is in the early stages of developing an approach for assessment, specific steps and a timeframe remain unspecified. An evaluation of the validations process could potentially lead to improvements, increasing predictability and enhancing accountability to bilateral agreements.

The GAO’s study was initiated in response to ongoing difficulties reported by U.S. aviation companies in obtaining approvals for their products in other countries. By examining approval processes, challenges, and FAA’s efforts, the GAO aims to shed light on potential areas for improvement in the international validation process for U.S. aviation products.

Read the full GAO report here.

author avatar
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.

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