Interim Report on Controls Over the Federal Aviation Administration's Conversion of Flight Service Stations to Contract Operations
On May 18, 2007, we issued our interim report on controls over the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) conversion of flight service stations to contract operations. Overall, we found that FAA had implemented effective controls over the initial transition of flight service stations to contract operations. However, it is uncertain if those controls will be sufficient to ensure anticipated savings are achieved as FAA and the contractor begin the next and most critical phase of the transition. In February, the contractor began efforts to complete, test, and implement a new software operating system for flight service stations and consolidate the existing 58 sites into 3 hub and 16 refurbished locations - all within a 5-month timeframe. Any slips in that schedule could have significant implications to the costs and anticipated savings of the transition. Additionally, we found that improvements are needed to ensure that the operational needs of users continue to be met. We found that staffing levels at outsourced facilities are lower than what the contractor anticipated, resulting in some users being routed to adjacent facilities that did not have adequate local knowledge. This issue could be compounded if there are delays in fielding the new operating system or consolidating facilities. FAA concurred with our recommendations except our recommendation to develop and implement management controls for monitoring contractor staffing plans to ensure that that the contractor has a sufficient number of specialists certified in the appropriate service areas. We believe that FAA needs to reconsider its position; accordingly, we consider this recommendation unresolved.