A three-month audit by the FAA found that airlines were in compliance with federal safety directives 98% of the time, according to Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell. "This audit gives us confidence that, overall, the system is safe and in almost every instance the airlines are complying with safety directives," Sturgell said. The audit was spurred by complaints that inspectors had become too cozy with the companies they monitor, and one congressional Democrat responded to the FAA report by insisting the goal "should be 100% compliance." Officials said they would investigate the 17 instances in which FAA directives were not followed. A spokesman for the Air Transport Association said the audit would "serve as a useful reminder that we can always do better."

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