Assessment of the Federal Aviation Administration's Plan To Close Its Denver and Honolulu Regional Offices

CED-82-45: Published: Feb 25, 1982. Publicly Released: Feb 25, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) plan to close its regional offices in Denver and Honolulu and consolidate them into offices located in Seattle and Los Angeles. The GAO objective was to determine if the FAA cost-benefit analysis was drawn correctly.

GAO found that the analysis was generally accurate, except that no cost estimates were included for early retirements, unemployment compensation, and lump-sum annual leave payments. Although these are not direct costs to FAA, they are associated with the regional office consolidation and are proper offsets to FAA estimated savings. Actual savings and costs may differ from FAA projections concerning the exact positions to be eliminated and the costs of needed space. While savings were important in the FAA decisions to consolidate its regional offices, other factors influenced the final selection of regions and the locations for consolidation. The selection in the plan showed that FAA did not wish to close regions that: (1) would require a large degree of managerial attention during the rebuilding of the air traffic control system; and (2) were designated as lead regions responsible for carrying out various airworthiness certification programs. FAA expressed its intention to rebuild the air traffic control system while maintaining the safety and efficiency of the National Airspace System. The cost-benefit analysis presented estimates; the actual results of the consolidation when completed may be different. GAO concluded that, if FAA permanently eliminates the positions identified in the plan, long-term savings should result.

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