Software Problems Mean Problems For FAA

I was just discussing funding of the FAA and how the business aviation industry works with those issues through the fuel tax and not through usage fees.  It seems that they will need to dip into the fuel tax to fund a problem they are having with their Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).  The problem is in the software of the new system.  AIN recently reported the issues with the NextGen as it stated:

“the FAA’s new, $2.1 billion en route automation modernization (Eram) computer system, originally scheduled to be operational at all 20 air route traffic control centers (ARTCC) last year, could incur repair costs for the agency of up to $500 million.”

This is a set back for the agency and can mean some difficulties for the industry going forward. The full report from the DOT Inspector General was sent to Congress.

The technology that we currently use is more than 30 years old and is in need of replacement. The current system is being replaced by Lockheed Martin. It was also reported that in July, the IG found that subsequent operational testing at the St. Louis ARTCC raised more than 15,000 software issues, requiring a continuing estimated $12 million per month to troubleshoot and repair–at the FAA’s expense. This is not good news for the FAA budget, and it is not putting a lot of confidence in the new system set to replace its older counterpart.

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