Shake-up at Federal Aviation Authority

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A major shake-up is looming at the Federal Aviation Administration following its failure to tackle the safety problems at ValuJet, which led to the indefinite grounding of the low-fare airline this week - five weeks after the Florida crash which killed 110 people.

ValuJet's closure was the climax of a month of intense scrutiny by the watchdog agency, which posted inspectors on every Valujet flight in the wake of the DC-9 crash in the Everglades. The ultimate indictment is devastating. The month-long check uncovered "system-wide deficiencies" in ValuJet's maintenance programmes, doubts about the airworthiness of several aircraft, and "multiple shortcomings" in ValuJet's control of the outside contractors. Rupert Cornwell - Washington