Air Traffic Control:

FAA's Implementation of Modernization Projects in the Field

RCED-89-92: Published: Jun 28, 1989. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 1989.

Additional Materials:


Kenneth M. Mead
(202) 512-2834


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) progress in implementing the National Airspace System (NAS) Plan, focusing on: (1) the adequacy of FAA headquarters planning for regional installation and integration of NAS equipment; and (2) whether FAA regions had sufficient information to perform those tasks within established schedules.

GAO found that: (1) some headquarters implementation plans did not adequately identify regional tasks or project requirements; (2) FAA headquarters changed project requirements after regions began implementation; and (3) all of the projects it reviewed experienced some delivery delays, but in at least four cases, the delays allowed the regions sufficient time to prepare for implementation. GAO also found that: (1) the regions used separate information systems to manage various implementation tasks, and the systems frequently yielded data different from data that the headquarters systems produced; (2) regional information systems included inaccurate data on delivery dates and could not accurately estimate staffing needs; (3) regional and headquarters project milestones were not comparable; and (4) FAA had no clear timetable for implementing the Regional Project Management System (RPMS), which it will require in order to estimate staffing for future regional NAS implementation projects.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The FAA National Airspace System (NAS) Transition Service established a working group to look at problems and develop solutions for the new systems' field transition process. This effort resulted in new guidance for project implementation plans (PIP). The FAA official who headed up the group responsible for issuing the new PIP guidance said that it will be a much-needed improvement over the previous version. The new guidance will make it easier for FAA decisionmakers to review PIP to ensure that they conform to FAA standards and allow for better project field implementation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to ensure that project implementation plans conform to established FAA planning standards before they are issued.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the FAA program manager for RPMS, the system is now complete. He stated that RPMS was used to generate budget needs for FY 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to ensure that RPMS is available in time to develop the fiscal year (FY) 1991 budget request.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »