Federal Aviation Administration officials confirm the agency
intends to award a major contract to upgrade its oceanic air traffic control
systems to a consortium containing Lockheed Martin.
An FAA spokeswoman says that although the agency expects to
award the advanced technologies and oceanic procedures (ATOP) contract
officially in June, “our intent is to award it to Lockheed Martin”.
Although she says that until the contract is signed, “things
could change”, the spokeswoman confirms the FAA is planning to announce soon
the decision to award the ATOP contract to a consortium containing Airways New
Zealand, Lockheed Martin and Canada’s Adacel Technologies.
One year ago today the FAA narrowed the ATOP bidding
competition down to two consortia, the Lockheed Martin team and a group led by
ARINC and containing Airservices Australia, Airsys ATM, Harris and Sensis.
ARINC had originally proposed to the FAA in 1996 the idea of
taking over its oceanic control functions, at a time when the US agency was
becoming increasingly embarrassed by its failure to match small the abilities
of Pacific nations to introduce advanced Free Flight-capable air traffic
management systems for oceanic control.
The ATOP contract is estimated to be worth about $200
million but could be worth much more over the long term to the winning
consortium by giving it a leading position in bidding for other air traffic
management upgrade deals internationally.