US watchdog criticizes FAA oversight of American Airlines
DALLAS (AP) – A government watchdog says a federal inspector overseeing American Airlines was too cozy with the carrier and did not respond to safety complaints raised by the pilots’ union.
The inspector general of the Transportation Department says the Federal Aviation Administration inspector failed to respond to questions about unqualified pilots and whether planes were safe after maintenance work.
The watchdog says the FAA inspector had been assigned to American for 28 years and grew close to a key airline management employee.
A new FAA supervisor saw potential problems with the inspector’s objectivity and recommended last year he be reassigned. But the FAA didn’t consider it a priority and took four months to act, according to the report, which was made public Thursday.
The inspector, who is not named in the report, later retired.
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