FAA ASIAS is the Data Foundation for SMS
DoT OIG finds some possible improvements
Seem like all should be priorities
A credible report about the FAA’s Aviation Safety Information & Analysis System (ASIAS) has been issued. Its recommendations appear to merit a rapid, positive response!!!
The US DoT Office of Inspector General has been known to make hypercritical analyses of the FAA and other modal Administrations. It is sort of an institutional imperative in being a “watchdog” that you need to bark at something. This generalization loses some of its accuracy with this OIG Report. Perhaps it is the new IG, for whom there was a great kerfuffle about his nomination!
Part of the reason that this critique should be prioritized is that the FAA relies so heavily on this data base and its related risk identification for its core Safety Management System. Specifically, ASIAS integrates and assess all of the following:
- ASAP (Aviation Safety Action Program),
- ASDE–X (Airport Surface Detection Equipment–Model X),
- ASPM (Airspace Performance Metrics),
- ASRS (Aviation Safety Reporting System),
- ATSAP (Air Traffic Safety Action Program),
- FOQA (Flight Operational Quality Assurance),
- METAR (Meteorological Aviation Report),
- MOR (Mandatory Occurrence Reports),
- NFDC (National Flight Data Center),
- NMAC (Near Mid-Air Collisions),
- NOP (National Offload Program office track data),
- SDR (Service Difficulty Reports), and
- TFMS (Traffic Flow Management System).
And more significantly incorporates the data provided by these Members:
There are currently 47 Part 121 member air carriers, 88 corporate/business operators, 12 universities, 5 manufacturers, and 2 maintenance, repair, and overhaul organizations participating in ASIAS. Participation in ASIAS continues to grow as part of a phased expansion designed to engage the corporate/business and light GA communities and lay groundwork for the future inclusion of new communities such as the helicopter industry.
With that in mind, the DOT IG’s recommendations appear to be well founded.
Improving the prioritization of the risk analyses, distributing the results to senior staff and disseminating the non-confidential information to the field, all seem to be reasonable action items. The OIG report states that the FAA accepts all three of these recommendations, but that implementation might not be as timely as requested.
March 23, 2021 Homeland Security Today
To enhance safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the aviation industry use data to proactively detect risks and implement mitigation strategies before accidents and incidents occur. Since 2007, FAA’s Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program has drawn together a wide variety of safety data and information across government and industry to identify emerging, systemic safety issues.
In 2013, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Transportation reported that FAA had made progress implementing ASIAS, but the system lacked advanced capabilities, and aviation safety inspectors’ access to ASIAS confidential data remained limited.
Now, OIG’s follow-up review has found that FAA has made progress in implementing ASIAS since the 2013 review, but work remains to improve the program. For example, by September 2020, ASIAS grew to include data from 41 airlines, which according to FAA represents 99 percent of air carrier operations. However, OIG found FAA has not yet established a robust process for prioritizing analysis requests. FAA plans to make incremental enhancements to ASIAS, but OIG’s review found it does not expect to fully integrate predictive capabilities until 2025.
In addition, while FAA provides some ASIAS information to aviation safety inspectors, it does not provide access to national trend information that could improve their safety oversight. Further, inspectors do not widely use non-confidential ASIAS data for air carrier oversight due to the lack of guidance and the existing availability of similar data through other FAA databases.
OIG made three recommendations to improve FAA’s ability to better prioritize ASIAS efforts, provide improved data to aviation inspectors, and communicate the intended use and benefits of non-confidential ASIAS data. FAA plans to implement all recommendations by June 30, 2022 with some action being complete by August 31, 2021.
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