Since the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduced and implemented its new ”compliance philosophy” two years ago, the number of enforcement actions taken by the agency has declined 70 percent, according to a high-ranking FAA official.
In a speech prepared for Aug. 17 delivery to the Air Cargo Safety Forum, Ali Bahrami, FAA’s new associate administrator for aviation safety, said that during the same two-year period, FAA has corrected more than 8,000 safety issues using nonenforcement compliance actions.
“These actions represent issues that were identified, documented, and addressed with corrective action,” said Bahrami, who added that the compliance philosophy is an “overwhelming success” by any measure.
FAA, in an effort to embrace a just culture, implemented its compliance philosophy in 2015. Its objective is to identify safety issues that underlie deviations from standards and correct them as effectively, quickly and efficiently as possible, according to FAA explanatory material.
“Our view of compliance stresses a problem-solving approach (i.e., engagement, root-cause analysis, transparency, and information exchange) where the goal is to enhance the safety performance of individual and organizational certificate holders. An open and transparent exchange of information requires mutual cooperation and trust that can be challenging to achieve in a traditional, enforcement-focused regulatory model,” according to FAA’s website.
Bahrami said that when a noncompliance or potential noncompliance is discovered, FAA uses compliance actions rather than enforcement if the carrier is willing and able to make corrections and become compliant.
Compliance action is a new term to describe FAA’s nonenforcement methods for correcting unintentional deviations or noncompliance that arise from factors such as flawed systems and procedures, simple mistakes, lack of understanding or diminished skills.
“We used to measure success by how high our stack of hate mail was compared to the previous year,” Bahrami said. “That’s no longer the case.”