I'm especially intrigued by allegation (2) - that one would imply that the fox guards the henhouse. Allegation (4) is also interesting. Wouldn't 58-90% of defects mean that planes would soon start to fall out of the sky? Would pilots really continue to fly at that level of maintenance?
Can anybody comment?
Dear Administrator Blakey:
The attached memorandum was first brought to my attention yesterday. I do not have the expertise to assess the Inspector’s observations and assertions. I call upon you and the Federal Aviation Administration to assure me and the public that Northwest Airlines is meeting all necessary standards of reliability and safety.
In addition to this memorandum, I have received the following allegations, to which I ask for your response:
1. That the Inspector who wrote this memorandum was removed from inspecting Northwest’s operations, after the company complained about his inspections.
2. That it is common FAA practice to remove its inspectors when the airline being inspected complains.
3. That from August 20, 2005 to August 31, 2005, approximately 470 FAA inspectors’ reports on Northwest’s maintenance operations that were filed in your Minneapolis office were not entered into the electronic database, which would then have triggered a risk assessment.
4. That over 58 percent, and as many as 90 percent, of those inspectors’ reports cited defects, compared to a 3 to 5 percent defect rate for Northwest prior to August 20, 2005.
5. That a defect rate of 9 percent would trigger an internal FAA alert.
Additionally, I ask to be informed about the action that the FAA has taken in response to the attached memorandum from (1) its receipt until September 1, 2005, and (2) thereafter. In particular, I want to know your response to its essential finding that a “situation exists that jeopardizes life or property…” and its five recommended actions on “page 9 of 9,” beginning that “Northwest Airlines flight operation is reduced based on the ability of the mechanic and inspector workforce to perform assigned duties and tasks without error.”
Furthermore, I would like to know what, if any, additional procedures the FAA has taken in order to ensure the safety standards of airlines which are in the process of, or which have previously faced bankruptcy or labor disruptions.
I look forward to your immediate response.
United States Senator