The Success of FAA's Long-Term Plan for Air Traffic Facility Realignments and Consolidations Depends on Addressing Key Technical, Financial, and Workforce Challenges
On July 17, 2012, we issued a report on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) plans for consolidating and realigning its air traffic control facilities. FAA operates 561 manned air traffic facilities nationwide, many of which are deteriorating and outdated, especially given the Agency’s ongoing modernization efforts through the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). We found that FAA recently approved an initial plan to consolidate air traffic facilities into large, integrated facilities over the next two decades—beginning with consolidating 49 facilities into an integrated facility for the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia area, at an estimated cost of $2.3 billion. However, FAA has not yet decided where to build the first facility, nor developed metrics to measure the effectiveness of its plans. In addition, we found that the successful implementation of FAA’s plans will depend on addressing key challenges—such as aligning ongoing construction projects, making critical technical decisions, coordinating with NextGen offices, finalizing cost estimates, and addressing the impacts of consolidations on the workforce and affected communities. FAA concurred with all five of our recommendations to assist the Agency in achieving a successful consolidation and realignment plan. However, we are requesting that the Agency provide target completion dates for two recommendations.