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FAA Has Made Progress Fielding ERAM, but Critical Work on Complex Sites and Key Capabilities Remains

Requested by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies
Project ID: 

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) efforts to modernize the National Airspace System depend on the successful implementation of the foundational En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system—a multibillion dollar system for processing flight data at facilities that manage high-altitude traffic. However, we reported in September 2012 that extensive software-related problems have significantly delayed ERAM’s nationwide implementation, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in increased costs. At the request of the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies, we conducted a follow-up review to assess ERAM’s progress. We found that FAA has made considerable progress deploying ERAM and is now using the system at 16 sites at least part-time. However, as FAA deploys ERAM to the Nation’s busiest facilities, new software-related problems could impact the program’s cost and schedule, and the Agency may need additional funds to complete the project. We also found that air traffic controllers and ERAM subject matter experts have concerns that FAA’s schedule-driven approach may leave certain site-specific issues unaddressed. In addition, some key capabilities, such as ERAM’s tracking software, are experiencing issues that may impact future Next Generation Air Transportation System capabilities. We shared the results of our review with FAA and encouraged the Agency to continue its efforts to address our September 2012 recommendations.