The health of our nation's air transportation system is critical to our citizens and economy. However, the current approach to managing air transportation is becoming increasingly inefficient and operationally obsolete. In 2003, Congress created the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) to plan for and coordinate, with federal and nonfederal stakeholders, a transformation from the current air traffic control (ATC) system to the "next generation air transportation system" (NGATS). Housed within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), JPDO has seven partner agencies that make up JPDO's senior policy committee: the Departments of Transportation, Commerce, Defense, and Homeland Security; FAA; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. This testimony, which provides preliminary results from GAO's ongoing work on JPDO, provides information on (1) the status of JPDO's efforts to plan for NGATS, (2) the key challenges facing JPDO as it moves forward with its planning efforts, and (3) the key challenges facing FAA as it implements the transformation while continuing its current operations. The statement is based on GAO's analysis of JPDO documents, interviews, and the views of a panel of experts, as well as on past GAO work.
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