Even though flight hours have decreased as has the average age of aircraft, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) paid more annually to maintain its aviation fleet, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General said in a new management advisory.

“Since 2009, the number of CBP aircraft maintained, annual flight hours, and the average age of CBP’s aircraft fleet decreased,” said the advisory

CBP Citation jet and Cessna aircraft patrolling the southern border. Photo: CBP
CBP Citation jet and Cessna aircraft patrolling the southern border. Photo: CBP

, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Management of National Aviation Maintenance Activities. “However, during the same period, CBP’s national aviation maintenance contract costs increased.”

CBP’s fleet of aviation assets is being supported through a maintenance and logistics services award to Defense Support Services (DS2) in November 2009 that is potentially worth $938 million over 10 years.

The report said that between FY ’10 and FY ’13 the number of aircraft maintained under the contract by DS2 fell 13 percent to 249 from 284 while annual flight hours slid 35 percent to 61,320 from 93,823. Through the same period CBP’s aviation maintenance contract costs increased on average nearly 9 percent each year, the IG said.

The report added that by FY ’14 CBP estimated that the total potential contract cost had risen to nearly $1.1 billion, almost 13 percent higher than the original award.

The IG also said its review found that CBP doesn’t properly address and report maintenance deficiencies and that it lacks guidance for when deficiency reports should be submitted to DS2.

“By delaying notification of DS2 about deficiencies, CBP increases the risk that maintenance will be delayed and that similar costly incidents will occur,” the report said. “These delays and incidents could also cause safety issues.”