In Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, the Department of Energy (Department) owned 24 aircraft at
five sites with total operating costs of approximately $28.3 million. The Bonneville
Power Administration (Bonneville) currently owns and operates six of the Department's
aircraft; four helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft. The helicopters are used primarily
for transmission line inspection, maintenance and construction while the fixed-wing
aircraft are, for the most part, used for passenger transportation. A total of 872 trips were
taken on Bonneville fixed-wing aircraft during FYs 2004,2005 and 2006.
The Office of Inspector General has issued a number of audit reports related to the
Department's aircraft activities and services. Our most recent review, dated January
1999, disclosed the need for management improvements over periodic assessments of the
continuing need for aircraft; the identification and correction of uneconomical aircraft
operations; the validation of acquisitions; and ensuring that accurate charter, contract and
rental information was collected and provided to the General Services Administration.
Based on the significant cost associated with the aviation program, we conducted this
review to determine whether Bonneville had an effective and efficient aviation