Air Traffic Control:

Status of FAA's Modernization Program

RCED-93-121FS: Published: Apr 16, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 1993.

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Pursuant to congressional requests, GAO provided information on the status of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) efforts to modernize the air traffic control system (ATCS), focusing on: (1) changes to the modernization program since the inception of the FAA national airspace system plan; and (2) unobligated balances in comparison to total appropriations.

GAO found that: (1) total estimated costs for ATCS modernization have increased by almost $1 billion dollars, with the largest increase occurring in terminal airspace projects; (2) FAA has fully implemented 46 field projects which cost approximately 5 percent of the modernization's total estimated cost; (3) FAA added 12 ATCS modernization projects in 1992; (4) FAA has an unobligated facilities and equipment balance of $1.98 billion due to multiple-year budget authorizations and project delays; (5) FAA is revising its terminal radar approach control plans due to safety considerations, which may lead to less consolidation and greater costs; (6) project schedule delays have averaged 5 years; (7) FAA has changed quantity requirements for a number of projects; (8) FAA has added 16 new capabilities projects due to technology advances, of which 6 will be significant contributors to ATCS modernization; and (9) cost estimates and schedules may change for new modernization projects, since they are in the early stages of development.