Air Traffic Control:

FAA Should Avoid Duplication in Procuring a Traffic Management System

IMTEC-88-8: Published: Dec 22, 1987. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO assessed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) efforts to acquire a new automated system designed to improve air traffic flow and traffic management.

GAO found that FAA believes that its present Traffic Management System cannot meet requirements because the: (1) obsolete software cannot keep pace with increasing demand; and (2) existing system does not have the capacity to process aircraft position messages produced by radar tracking. GAO also found that: (1) FAA upgraded the system's central computer and improved its data transmission capabilities; (2) the Transportation Systems Center demonstrated a prototype model in January 1987 that satisfied 85 percent of the current requirements; (3) FAA used the prototype to assist in the traffic flow management during summer 1987; and (4) FAA is integrating software developed by various research and development efforts to eliminate duplication.