Monday, June 16, 2014

Congressman Gardner Releases Inspector General Report on Federal Aviation Administration Failings

June 16, 2014  

Washington, DC – Friday, Congressman Cory Gardner (CO-04) released an audit report conducted by the Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General, which found that applications submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Denver Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) faced some of the longest wait times in the country. The audit request came after Gardner sent multiple letters to the FAA starting in July of 2011 after learning of constituents facing extremely long wait times. Reforming FAA processes and procedures have been a priority since the Congressman was elected to represent the 4th Congressional District.   

In 2009, sick of the uncertainty that came with inconsistent contract work, Tom McCarthy, a constituent in Colorado’s fourth Congressional district, decided to apply for an Air Taxi Certification so that he could work for himself.  In order to apply for a certification with the FAA, Mr. McCarthy was required to complete a precertification- which included proof of operational authority of an acceptable aircraft. Confident in his business plan, Mr. McCarthy invested $145,000 in purchasing an aircraft and bringing it up to code. Four years later, he was still without the proper certification and was forced to sell his aircraft at a sizeable loss.

“The most frustrating thing for me was that I was never told if there was even a chance of my application being approved,” said McCarthy. “I was operating under complete uncertainty. In 2012, after years of paying for the upkeep of the aircraft I had purchased, I sent multiple letters requesting more information about where my application was in the queue. It turns out that my application had actually been dropped off the waiting list, and no one could tell me why. As a small business owner, I do not believe the FAA has been acting in good faith. Sadly, this report proves that to be true.”

“This report highlighted the many problems in the FAA permit approval process,” said Gardner. “Unfortunately, stories like Mr. McCarthy’s are more common than not, which is why I began investigating this issue when I was elected to Congress. We must hold the FAA accountable for their negligence and ensure that a new system is put in place so that those who follow the rules are not punished for it. I’m glad to see that this report highlights four recommended reforms, and I would encourage the Denver FSDO to work with the FAA to implement these fixes. However, if the FAA does not make significant improvement on their own, I will explore legislative options to prevent this type of backlog in the future.”
Congressman Gardner is a member in the U.S. House of Representatives serving Colorado's 4th Congressional District. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is a member of the following Subcommittees: Communications and Technology, Energy and Power, and Oversight and Investigations. 


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