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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) reviewed the effectiveness of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) approach to computer capacity management; and (2) identified how FAA could improve its practices to alleviate problems with existing systems.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation The Administrator, FAA, should develop computer capacity management policies and procedures for air traffic control systems and the Common System. Those policies and procedures should require implementation of capacity management programs for each system, which include establishing performance objectives, measuring performance and resource utilization, analyzing and reporting capacity management data, projecting future work loads, proposing resources to meet future demands, and preparing capacity plans. In doing this, the Administrator, FAA, should place highest priority on implementing capacity management programs for systems that are most critical to aviation safety.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

For current air traffic control systems, the Department of Transportation (DOT) disagreed and stated that FAA had adequate policies and procedures. For the future Advanced Automation System, DOT agreed and stated that FAA was addressing capacity management concerns. DOT did not believe that additional efforts for the Common System were required.
Department of Transportation The Administrator, FAA, should develop or obtain the capacity management expertise necessary to produce policies and procedures and administer capacity management programs. Those personnel should be skilled in performance management and capacity planning techniques, familiar with tools available to collect, analyze, and report data, and knowledgeable about the daily operations of the systems.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

DOT agreed with the recommendation and FAA is acting to implement it. For example, FAA has identified necessary training courses for staff to provide the skills necessary for performance management and capacity planning.
Department of Transportation The Administrator, FAA, should develop or acquire automated performance management and capacity planning tools for each system and consistently use them to assist in the uniform collection, analysis, and reporting of performance, utilization, and capacity data.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

DOT generally concurred in the recommendation and FAA is acting to implement it. For example, a contract was awarded to provide an automated data collection tool for the existing air traffic control systems at larger facilities that should effectively analyze, measure, and report system utilization.

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