Cablegate: Colombian Civil Aviation Authority to Visit Faa

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (U) Summary. Sub-Director from Colombia's Civil Aviation
Authority (CAA) plans to visit FAA in Miami and Washington to
discuss recent FAA inspection. The GOC was not pleased with
the results of the inspection, and is taking steps to comply
with FAA recommendations. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In late April, FAA inspectors traveled to Bogota to
perform follow-up inspections of Avianca and Vertical
Aviation repair shops. FAA inspectors were satisfied with
Avianca's repair shop but prohibited Vertical Aviation's shop
to work on U.S. registered products because it failed
inspection, (Vertical Aviation works on Bell helicopters).
FAA will re-inspect Vertical Aviation in late June. The FAA
officials also briefed the CAA on deficiencies found in the
CAA's inspection program. FAA inspectors believe that
training and resources are insufficient for CAA inspectors.
The FAA also noticed that inspectors were not enforcing
regulations due to fear of lawsuits by airline operators.
FAA notes that CAA authorities are neither supporting CAA
inspectors with legal support nor are they following all of
FAA inspectors' recommendations.

3. (SBU) Econoff met with CAA Subdirector Colonel Carlos
Ramirez regarding the FAA inspection. Col Ramirez privately
told econoff he was upset with the findings because he
believed that disgruntled CAA inspectors negatively
influenced the FAA inspection due to salary disputes.
Regarding training, Col Ramirez told econoff the CAA recently
hired 49 new contractors and have future training planned.
He stated resources, such as computers and internet access,
must be shared by contractors, especially due to the
increased workforce. Col Ramirez denied a lack of support to
CAA inspectors and said if the CAA inspectors feared reprisal
from the airlines, they should ask CAA directors to sign off
on their inspection results.

4. (SBU) Comment: CAA authorities were caught off guard and
not prepared for the FAA's review of the CAA inspection
program. To address the FAA's concerns, Col Ramirez plans to
hire inspectors on short-term-but-renewable performance-based
contracts due to problems associated with current disgruntled
inspectors, whom the CAA cannot fire.

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