Federal officials should have to pay for electronic tracking of international flights to track domestic travel, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has suggested in a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
The senator’s request to compel the federal government to pay up comes after an independent audit found that airlines are not required to pay to track flight data, citing a lack of federal oversight.
The audit, released last year by the Transportation Department, found that the Transportation Agency had not taken adequate steps to prevent airlines from collecting, using, and storing data on the flight information of passengers, including the time and duration of each flight.
Grassley wrote that the U.S. should “provide the United States Department of Transportation with the resources necessary to enforce the relevant statutory requirements.”
Grassley also requested information on the U,S.
Department of Commerce’s efforts to ensure that foreign airlines can comply with the data collection requirements.
The department’s compliance office has yet to respond to Grassley’s request, but Chao’s office has also been tasked with ensuring that domestic carriers comply with tracking requirements.
Chao has not yet responded to Grassley and other lawmakers’ requests for information on compliance.
The FAA has not been fully transparent about the scope of its data collection efforts, which the agency said in its latest fiscal year report showed it was collecting more than 90 percent of the data it collected for domestic flights.
A FAA spokesperson told Ars that the agency collects “more than 100,000 flights per day and more than 100 million records per day” for “airport operations, aviation, security, and civil aviation.”
The agency also said that it has more than 70,000 employees and “over 1.2 million miles of airspace” and that it operates more than 3,600 aircraft.
According to the report, the FAA collects data on “airline operations, airport security, flight safety, and airport operations, security operations, and traffic control.”
According the FAA’s website, the agency was created in the early 1990s to help regulate airline operations and the flight operations they use.
Chao said last week that she has been in touch with the FAA about the audit, and that the FAA has begun implementing a number of new policies.
She also said she would work with Grassley to “ensure that the department can continue to provide the necessary resources to enforce federal requirements and enforce our obligations under the FAA Data Collection Rule.”
In a letter responding to Grassley, Chao said the department “continues to engage in an extensive review of the agency’s compliance programs and practices” and “we look forward to providing you with updates as they become available.”
The FAA said that “a detailed audit is currently underway.”
A spokesperson for the department declined to comment.