Air Traffic Control

Status of FAA's Modernization Program Gao ID: RCED-94-167FS April 15, 1994

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) modernization program, which began in 1981, is a $36 billion dollar effort to modernize the nation's air traffic control system by acquiring new equipment, such as radars, computers, and communications systems. This fact sheet (1) provides background information on the air traffic control system and its modernization; (2) discusses the status of the overall modernization effort, emphasizing changes in cost estimates; (3) reviews in detail the changes from 1993 to 1994 in the costs and schedules for 12 of the largest projects, including the Advanced Automation System and the Microwave Landing System; and (4) provides information on FAA's aviation weather program, including cost and schedule data on two key weather projects.

GAO found that: (1) FAA estimates that the cost of modernization, from 1982 through 2001, will be $36.2 billion, an increase of $2.1 billion over its 1993 estimate; (2) approximately $17.8 billion of the total cost has been appropriated so far; (3) FAA had completed 54 projects, accounting for 8 percent of the total air traffic control modernization budget, by the end of 1993; (4) the unobligated balance in the FAA Facilities and Equipment balance decreased for the first time since fiscal year 1987; (5) changes in the costs and schedules for major projects continued to occur; (6) software development problems continued on several major projects, and only two of the four projects that were to meet major milestones in 1993 did so; (7) FAA reviewed the potential extent of further cost increases and schedule delays, and determined that costs for the Advanced Automation System would likely increase by $1 billion and that its schedule would be delayed by 20 months; (8) FAA and the aviation industry have identified high-priority weather-related needs in addition to those systems already planned; and (9) estimated costs for key weather-related systems have increased significantly as the systems have been defined in more detail.

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.