Air Traffic Control:

Status of FAA's Modernization Program

RCED-94-167FS: Published: Apr 15, 1994. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) comprehensive effort to modernize the air traffic control system.

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.

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