National Airspace System: FAA Reauthorization Issues are Critical to System Transformation and Operations Page: 4 of 17
responding to equipment outages. In addition, FAA estimated a one-time cost
to repair existing terminal facilities ranging from $250 million to $350 million.
Align responsibilities to accelerate NextGen:
* After the recent reorganization of the FAA office responsible for
implementing NextGen, many NextGen capabilities continue to span
operational units both within and outside that office. The division of
responsibility for NextGen efforts among them is not clear. Monitoring
the effects of the reorganization would inform decisionmakers about
the progress of NextGen.
* FAA has taken important steps, such as forming partnerships with
industry, to accelerate the availability of NextGen capabilities. As we
have stated in other reports, these types of partnerships are beneficial
in accomplishing program objectives in a timely manner.
Incentivize purchase of new equipment:
* FAA will need to work with the stakeholders to explore a range of
potential options available to provide incentives to aircraft operators
to purchase equipment and to suppliers to develop that equipment.
These options could include some combination of mandated
deadlines, operational credits, or equipment investment credits that
financially support equipment implementation for a limited initial set
of aircraft operators.
Plan for future needs:
* The House reauthorization bill, H.R. 915, 111th Cong. (2009), provides
a step forward in directing FAA to establish a working group to
develop criteria and make recommendations for the realignment of
services and facilities-considering safety, potential cost savings, and
other criteria, in concert with stakeholders, including employee
groups-to assist in the NextGen transition. Until FAA establishes this
working group and they develop recommendations, the configurations
needed for NextGen cannot be implemented and potential savings that
could help offset the cost of NextGen will not be realized.
* Our research has shown that the full implementation of NextGen
should be considered necessary, but not necessarily sufficient, to fully
eliminate current and future delays and congestion. Planning
infrastructure projects to increase capacity, such as building
additional runways, can be a lengthy process, and would require
significant advance planning.
Allocate resources to legacy systems:
* It will be critical for FAA to ensure the safety and efficiency of the
legacy ATC systems, since they will be the core of the national
airspace system for a number of years and, in some cases, will become
part of NextGen. These circumstances will require the agency to
continue to identify the necessary resources to implement a robust
preventive and regular maintenance strategy and to support the
skilled personnel that will be required to implement the strategy.
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United States. Government Accountability Office. National Airspace System: FAA Reauthorization Issues are Critical to System Transformation and Operations, text, February 11, 2009; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc292851/m1/4/: accessed April 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.