Air Traffic Control:

Evolution and Status of FAA's Automation Program

T-RCED/AIMD-98-85: Published: Mar 5, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 1998.

Additional Materials:


John H. Anderson, Jr
(202) 512-8024


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) air traffic control (ATC) automation program, focusing on: (1) how the automation program has evolved from the initial program to the current one; (2) to what extent FAA has had to implement costly interim projects and to sustain the older equipment; and (3) whether the ongoing acquisitions are achieving their cost and schedule goals.

GAO noted that: (1) in the 1994 restructuring, FAA cancelled segments of its initial automation program, scaled back others, and ordered the development of less costly alternatives; (2) FAA still plans to replace the aging equipment that is increasingly difficult to maintain and to provide a basis for adding new capabilities at a later date; (3) one of the cancelled segments from the initial program would have addressed hardware maintenance problems that are now emerging with the mainframe computer; (4) the agency expects to incur costs of about $160 million during fiscal years 1998 and 1999 to replace the mainframe computer hardware; (5) as a result of the longstanding history of schedule delays in the automation program, FAA has added four interim projects--costing about $655 million--to sustain and enhance current automated equipment; (6) almost all of FAA's facilities that control air traffic at lower altitudes near airports will be upgraded through these interim projects; (7) FAA has had mixed results in achieving its cost and schedule goals for the two major ongoing acquisitions in its restructured automation program; (8) the Display System Replacement is within budget and on schedule; and (9) however, the Standard Terminal Automated Replacement System will likely have schedule delays of at least 6 months largely because software development has taken longer than expected and the agency and the contractor lack sufficient time to perform needed testing.

Feb 28, 2018

Jan 30, 2018

Jan 16, 2018

Dec 21, 2017

Dec 14, 2017

Dec 4, 2017

Nov 30, 2017

Nov 15, 2017

Nov 2, 2017

Oct 31, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here