The National Weather Service (NWS), an agency under the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), provides staff on-site at each of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) en route centers--the facilities that control high-altitude flight outside the airport tower and terminal areas. This group of NWS meteorologists provides air traffic managers with forecasts and briefings on regional conditions such as turbulence and icing. Over the last few years, FAA has been exploring options for enhancing the efficiency of the aviation weather services provided by these NWS meteorologists. In late December 2007, FAA delivered revised requirements and associated performance measures to NWS to improve these services. GAO was asked to summarize key segments of its report being released today, including its assessment of NWS and FAA efforts to ensure the quality of aviation weather services at en route centers, and its recommendations to improve these efforts. In addition, GAO was asked to provide an update on FAA's recent efforts to establish aviation weather requirements and performance measures, and NWS's plans for responding to these requirements. To do so, GAO summarized segments of its report, reviewed FAA's recently released requirements, and interviewed the official responsible for NWS's response.
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