The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) process for ensuring that air traffic control (ATC) systems will operate safely in the national airspace system is an integral part of the agency's multibillion-dollar ATC modernization and safety effort. GAO was asked to review (1) FAA's process for approving ATC systems for safe use in the national airspace system; (2) challenges FAA has faced approving ATC systems and how these challenges affected the cost, schedule, and performance estimates of the systems; and (3) actions FAA has taken to improve its process for approving ATC systems.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Transportation||1. To ensure that key stakeholders, such as air traffic controllers, maintenance technicians, and technical experts, outside FAA's acquisitions offices and Office of Regulation and Certification, are involved early and throughout FAA's ground system approval process and to ensure better internal coordination between FAA's offices responsible for approving ground systems and certifying aircraft equipment, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to develop ATC system-specific plans early in the approval process that specify how and when the approving and certifying offices within FAA and other stakeholders, including controllers, maintenance technicians, technical experts, and industry representatives, will meet to ensure coordination.|